MONMOUTH — Mark Thorson threw three touchdown passes and Western Oregon's defense intercepted four Southern Oregon passes as the Wolves won 37-13 in their homecoming game at McArthur Field on Saturday.
With the win, Western Oregon improved to 5-2 on the season, while the Raiders dropped to 3-4.
Thorson threw touchdown passes to Cory Dickson (15 yards), Shaun Kauleinamoku (33 yards) and Sean Fullerton (8 yards). The senior quarterback was 16 of 29 for 253 yards with no interceptions.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of interceptions by the Western Oregon defense. Senior cornerback Nick Smith had two picks, returning one 18 yards for a touchdown. Jay Darden also stole a pass, as did Caleb Singleton. Southern Oregon quarterback Bryan Lee-Lauduski finished 25-for-56 for 242 yards.
The Wolves had no turnovers on the day, but hurt themselves with 14 penalties for 107 yards. The Raiders had just four flags for 30 yards, but five turnovers killed potential scoring drives for them.
Southern Oregon dominated the game early, holding the Wolves to just one first down in their first three possessions. The Raiders got on the board first on a 35-yard field goal by former South Medford High standout Corey O'Neill to take a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter.
WOU answered on its next opportunity, using a 46-yard pass from Thorson to tailback Tyler Wilson to set up the scoring strike to Dickson.
Grants Pass' Bruce Voges kicked a 43-yard field goal to put the hosts up 10-3, and Ben Kuenzi added a 31-yard scoring run before the end of the half to give the Wolves a 16-3 lead at intermission.
WOU's offense struggled in the third quarter but the Wolves still put points on the board with Smith's interception return for a touchdown.
Still, the Raiders wouldn't go away, putting together a seven-play, 61-yard drive for a score with 6:36 left in the third quarter to make the count 23-13 on a 1-yard run by Austin Stack. O'Neill previously had made a 35-yard field goal to open the second-half scoring.
SOU then marched inside the 10-yard line with a chance to pull even closer, but Smith picked off another Lee-Lauduski pass, this time in the end zone.
That proved to be the best and last opportunity on a wet day for Southern Oregon. The Wolves responded with two impressive drives in the fourth quarter, with Thorson throwing TD passes to Kauleinamoku and Fullerton. The Wolves drove one final time down to the SOU 10-yard line before letting the clock expire.
WOU had eight different players catch Thorson passes, while Wilson led the ground game with 55 yards on 14 carries. Western Oregon's defense held SOU to just 35 yards on the ground in 31 attempts. But receiver Darryl Price was a huge bright spot for the offense, catching a career-best 10 passes for 140 yards.
Southern Oregon 3 0 10 0 —13
Western Oregon 7 9 7 14 —37
SOU — FG O'Neill 35
WOU — Dickson 15 pass from Thorson (Voges kick)
WOU — FG Voges 43
WOU — Kuenzi 31 run (kick failed)
SOU — FG O'Neill 35
WOU — Smith 18 interception return (Voges kick)
SOU — Stack 1 run (O'Neill kick)
WOU — Kauleinamoku 33 pass from Thorson (Voges kick)
WOU — Fullerton 8 pass from Thorson (Voges kick)
First Downs 19 16
Rushes-Yards 31-35 34-123
Passing Yards 242 253
Comp-Att-Int 25-56-4 16-29-0
Total Yards 277 376
Punts 4-43.8 8-35.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-30 14-107
Southern Oregon — Van Zant 16-36, Stack 2-35, Smith 4-0, Rosales 1-(-3), Hutsona 2-(-3), Mitchell 1-(-6), Lee-Lauduski 5-(-24).
Western Oregon — Wilson 14-55, Jackson 8-47, Kuenzi 9-39, Thorson 3-(-18).
Southern Oregon — Lee-Lauduski 25-56-4 242.
Western Oregon — Thorson 16-29-0 253.
Southern Oregon — Price 10-140, Greenidge 6-29, Beach 4-11, Holtzman 2-26, Jorgensen 1-16, Patenaude 1-11, Van Zant 1-9.
Western Oregon — Devilla 3-34, Dickson 3-32, Kauleinamoku 2-72, Wilson 2-56, Smith 2-33, Fullerton 2-17, Kuenzi 1-8, Alves 1-1.
SOUTHERN OREGON 3, COLLEGE OF IDAHO 1 — At Ashland, Southern Oregon (19-4, 13-1) upset the NAIA eighth-ranked College of Idaho Yotes, 30-27, 13-30, 30-24, 30-20 to move into sole possession of first place in the Cascade Conference.
The victory is also the 14th consecutive win for the streaking Raiders, who have lost only one game in the previous nine matches.
SOU senior Jaclyn Hamilton-Smith paced the Raiders offense with 12 kills, while Samantha Yutzie, Mia Wortel, Shanna Claflin and Richelle Millsap each had eight kills apiece.
Sophomore Lindsey Stone helped balance the Raider attack with 47 assists and 13 digs, and Wortel set the defensive pace with six blocks on the evening. Junior Emily Stone led the Raiders with 15 digs.
The 20th-ranked Raiders travel to Portland next weekend where they face Cascade College and Warner Pacific in Cascade Conference action.
CASCADE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS — At Eagle, Idaho, the Southern Oregon men placed second thanks to the lead efforts of Kevin Jeffers and Cameron Kruez at Eagle Island State Park.
Jeffers placed fourth and Kruez fifth in the men's race, which was won by Oregon Tech's Korey Humberston. SOU's David Laney placed ninth.
Eastern Oregon won the men's team title with 43 points, followed by the Raiders (56), College of Idaho (81), Corban (139) and Northwest (143) to round out the top five. Oregon Tech finished sixth with 181 points.
In the women's race, College of Idaho freshman Stephanie Helm finished first and Eastern Oregon's Marcella Bosch was second, helping her team win its seventh championship.
SOU finished eighth in the women's competition, with Eastern Oregon winning with 43 points.