BUTTE, Mont. — Southern Oregon scored 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points to take the lead from Montana Tech, but the Orediggers tied it in the final minute and won it overtime, 38-31, on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Coliseum.
Montana Tech’s Jet Campbell, who started the season as a receiver, passed for 266 yards and four touchdowns. The last, on third-down in overtime, was a 21-yarder lobbed to Trevor Hoffman streaking to the corner of the end zone. The Diggers (4-4 overall, 4-4 Frontier Conference) didn’t give up a yard to Raiders on their chance but backed them up 19 with a pair of sacks.
The 23rd-ranked Raiders (4-4) have lost four in a row for the first time since 2010.
Self-inflicted mistakes kept them from winning in regulation. The Diggers, down 31-24, took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:46 remaining and advanced 41 yards on penalties during the drive. After the fourth flag, Campbell and Hoffman hooked up for a 12-yard score with 29 seconds to spare.
Playing without injured running back Rey Vega, SOU quarterback Wyatt Hutchinson gained 94 yards on 11 keepers but lost 62 on seven sacks. He completed 17 of 37 passes for 169 yards and two TDs — both to Jordan Suell — without a pick.
The Raiders faced a 24-7 deficit that Austin May’s four-yard TD run trimmed to 11 with 13:30 to play. Special teams play then changed the tune of the game: As the Diggers attempted to punt from their own end zone, Ricky Te’o forced a fumble that Chase Cole recovered for a score. On the ensuing kickoff, the Diggers stepped out at their own 2-yard line and punted to give SOU a short field. Hutchinson then found Suell from nine yards out to give the Raiders a 28-24 lead.
After a turnover on downs, Marcus Montano tacked on a 47-yard field goal, one yard short of a career-long, to make it 31-24.
Defensively, Collin Crown led the Raiders with 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Tyler Dean added 10 tackles and was in on one for a loss.
Tech running back Jed Fike rushed 26 times for 165 yards and a TD. He’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark in all but one game for the Diggers, who had lost three straight when the day began.
SOU will finish the season with back-to-back games at Raider Stadium, next Saturday against Montana State-Northern and Nov. 10 against Montana Western. Both games kick off at noon.
MONTANA TECH 38, SOUTHERN OREGON 31, OT
At Alumni Coliseum
MT — Williams 5 pass from Campbell (Padilla kick)
SO — Suell 7 pass from Hutchinson (Montano kick)
MT — FG Padilla 28
MT — Fike 1 run (Padilla kick)
MT — Osborne 27 pass from Campbell (Padilla kick)
SO — May 4 run (kick failed)
SO — Cole 0 fumble recovery (Montano kick)
SO — Suell 9 pass from Hutchinson (Montano kick)
SO — FG Montano 47
MT — Hoffman 12 pass from Campbell (Gagnon kick)
MT — Hoffman 21 pass from Campbell (Gagnon kick)
Southern Oregon — Hutchinson 18-32, May 7-28, Clemmons 8-21, Ader 1-5, Gutierrez 2-3.
Montana Tech — Fike 26-165, Campbell 9-8, McCamley 1-3, Padilla 1-0, Folkes 1-(-2), Team 2-0.
Southern Oregon — Hutchinson 17-37-0 169.
Montana Tech — Campbell 24-38-0 266.
Southern Oregon — Ader 6-64, Suell 4-49, Cole 2-22, Clemmons 2-12, Shelley 1-11, Te’o 1-7, May 1-4.
Montana Tech — Williams 8-122, Hoffman 6-58, McCamley 5-53, Osborne 1-27, Hunthausen 2-6, Rauthe 1-2, Fike 1-(-2).