CALDWELL, Idaho – The Southern Oregon's football team's ugly month of October took another disappointing turn Saturday, and its championship aspirations took a major hit in a 45-34 loss to College of Idaho at Simplot Stadium.
For the third week in a row, a one-sided second half was the story. The No. 14 Raiders (4-3 overall, 4-3 Frontier Conference) went into the break with a 27-17 lead on Marcus Montano's field goal as time expired in the second quarter, but the Yotes (3-5, 3-4) took the lead while shutting them out in the third quarter and found the end zone on four of five their final five drives.
C of I's Darius-James Peterson, a junior quarterback, rushed 16 times for 100 yards and three second-half touchdowns. It was the fourth time in his career that he hit up SOU for 100-plus rushing yards; he also completed 14-of-20 passes for 266 yards and three TDs.
The win was C of I's third straight since starting the season 0-5. When the day started, the Raiders had been 17-1 in Frontier road games against teams with losing records – the only exception being another loss on the Yotes' home field in 2016.
That was also the year of the Raiders' only other three-game losing streak since joining the FC. They dropped two games behind first-place Montana Western and one behind second-place Eastern Oregon and Rocky Mountain in the standings.
After being outscored 17-0 in the third quarter of losses against both Rocky and EOU, they were outscored 14-0 in the third quarter against the Yotes and assisted them with an interception and a kickoff-return fumble.
The loss spoiled a stellar day for senior running back Rey Vega, who rushed 12 times for 123 yards and three TDs, including scores of 23 and 71 yards that had the Raiders up 24-10 with 5:01 left in the first half. He became the seventh player in team history to hit the 30-touchdown milestone in a career. Five of his nine rushing TDs this season have come against C of I.
Peterson led the Yotes on an 11-play, 89-yard march and took the last 10 yards himself for their first TD of the third quarter. His 28-yard pass to Connor Richardson put them up for the first time, 31-27, with 33 seconds left in the period.
The Raiders paid for an unsuccessful gamble on their ensuing drive. They were stuffed on 4th-and-1 on their own 44-yard line and C of I used the short field to its advantage, scoring on another Peterson rush of 13 yards to make it 38-27.
SOU cut into the lead, finishing an 80-yard drive on quarterback Wyatt Hutchinson's six-yard TD, with 6:31 to go. The defense then did its part, stopping C of I on third-down at the Raiders' 24-yard line, but at the end of the play Tyson Cooper was called for his second personal foul. Two snaps later, Peterson was in the end zone again.
Cooper and Tyler Dean both picked off Peterson, and Cooper and Crown led the Raiders with nine tackles each. Sean Rogers had their only sack.
For his part, Hutchinson completed 20-of-35 for 294 yards and took off 15 times for 100 yards. Bronsen Ader pulled in three catches for 85 yards and Isaac Hurd had four for 68.
The Raiders will play their final road game next Saturday, 12 p.m. Pacific Time at Montana Tech.