ASHLAND, Ore.--The Southern Oregon defense has quietly been putting together an incredible season, and that theme held true on Saturday.
The Raiders forced five turnovers, generated 11 sacks and didn't blitz once, according to defensive coordinator James Gravelle.
"This defense has bought in to what we've been preaching since day one: embracing excellence," Gravelle said. "The ball is the program, pressure without pressure, we did not send one blitz today, at all."
The defense has led the entire country in sacks per game for a while now, and Saturday's astronomical total separated them even more.
Most notable was redshirt junior Sean Rogers. He recorded a career-high four sacks, blocked a field goal and on Monday, was named the NAIA Defensive Player of the Week.
Not even a starter a few weeks ago, he's the first Raider to receive the honor in 15 years.
"I was in the zone because my coaches gave me one job and they let me just play football," Rogers said. "They said, 'Hey, if the pulling guard's coming your way, just do your job.' And I did and thankfully plays came my way, and I listened to my coaches and it showed on the field."
"Sean Rogers was a starter a year ago and he was a backup this year going into last week versus Eastern Oregon. With (senior defensive lineman) Armando Gauger going down for the season at this point, he has stepped up big time," Gravelle said. "He has played controlled football, disciplined football and he has done some pretty amazing things with his athleticism."
With the 36-7 win over The College of Idaho, the Raiders are now 7-0 for the first time in over 50 years. In the latest top-25 poll released on Monday, they stayed at No. 7 in the country. Montana Tech remained the only other ranked Frontier Conference team at No. 11.
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