On Saturday afternoon, the Southern Oregon University football team avenged their early season defeat against Carroll College, but not without a little magic. SOU eventually won the game in overtime, when the Carroll Saints couldn’t convert a two point conversion to win the game, after SOU scored the first touchdown of overtime. To get to overtime, however, SOU had to stop the Saints from capitalizing on two relatively rudimentary scoring opportunities.
With a tied game, and 3:41 remaining in regulation, the Raiders kept the Saints out of the end-zone on multiple plays, forcing kicker Benton Braesicke to attempt an 18-yard field goal, which bounced off the right upright. This relentless defense was similar to the final possession just a week ago against the University of Montana-Western when SOU prevented MW from scoring a late touchdown. After a quick Raider possession, the Saints drove down the field and lined up a 28-yard field goal, but never got the chance for an attempt as the snap was muffed.
The Siskiyou spoke to two SOU Raider players, junior defensive back, Nathan Torres-Walker and senior wide receiver, Teran Togia for this interview.
What was the team’s reaction when they muffed the second FG? [How did that impact the game going into OT?]
Torres-Walker: For me personally, I was fired up when they missed. The momentum shifted and I believe that we were more confident as a team going into overtime.
Togia: After they muffed the snap I felt overwhelmingly that we were going to win. I knew the game was in God’s hands when they had the opportunity to finish us off, but when they missed their chance to seal the deal I knew it was our turn to respond. We were ready to take the win having basically seen fate unfold scenarios in our favor play after play. Afterwards, coach Howard mentioned how we are a “team of destiny” and the title seemed fitting.
How important has the goal line defense been the past couple games (notably against MW in the final possession as well as against Carroll on the missed FG’s and failed 2pt conversion)?
Togia: Our defense has been clutch when it really counts. Had they not made those crucial plays in the final moments of our last couple of games, we would not be where we are today. Due to their goal line efforts in overtime these last two games we are in position to take the conference title and guarantee home field advantage for playoffs.
Torres-Walker: We prepared well for what MW and Carroll did on the goal line and that was important for us to stop them short of a touchdown. We take pride in stopping teams in the red zone.
What do you view as the biggest challenge/threat for the rest of the season?
Torres-Walker: “Our biggest challenge will be Montana Tech, as we are tied with them for conference champion.”
Togia: “Complacency. It’s hard to work your way to the top and even harder to stay there. I know we have more potential than any team out here, but we won’t win out unless we continue to grind each and every week. Our destiny is in our hands and unless we give it away, nobody can take what’s already ours.”
The Raiders have four games left in the regular season, including what is stacking up to be a major conference game (and homecoming) against Montana Tech at noon on November 7th at Raider Stadium. SOU’s next game is College of Idaho at home at 1pm.