ASHLAND, Ore--- The Trent Banner era in Southern Oregon only lasted for one regular-season week. On Saturday, new starting quarterback Matt Struck will take control of the Raider offense.
Coming off a 42-28 loss to Rocky Mountain, Southern Oregon (0-1) will take on Montana State-Northern (1-0) for the SOU home opener. The only thing is, the game won't be in Ashland. The game will instead be played at Autzen Stadium in Eugene as wildfire smoke continues to fill the Rogue Valley.
It's going to be cool. At my previous schools I have played in some big venues like that too," said the Raiders' new leader. "So, I hope that as an offense and a team, we can and appreciate it and admire it, then also stay level headed and execute the task at hand."
The 6'4" senior did not start against Rocky Mountain. However, he did throw for 259 yards and a touchdown while completing 14 of his 30 passes.
"He has got a really good arm. He has a great head on his shoulders," said head coach Charlie Hall. "He has been at different programs that play at a high level. I think he is going to get better and better as he gets more snaps."
Struck made stops at Riverside Community, Idaho State, and Missouri State before transferring to SOU. His hopes are to bring all of that experience to the Raiders. Struck says this week will be about getting the team back to the basics.
"Really just back to the basics. Just getting in and diving into the gameplan the coaches have provided for us and watch the tape. We don't have a lot of tape to go off, obviously. It is early in the year. The spring season was limited as well. But I don't know, same old same old. Get into it and try to find a way to scheme these guys up."
This chapter will likely be the end of Matt Struck's football story. He is looking to take advantage of it. He is also coming to terms with what it means.
"I mean I feel like it's a lot of people's dream to get out of the valley and explore different places, and I did, which I am very grateful for. This is how my chapter or my story is ending for football. So, I am grateful for that."
Struck and the Raiders will take on Montana State-Northern at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Kick is set for 12:00 p.m. Fans will not be permitted at the game.