Southern Oregon's Shane Van Zant scored on a 2-yard run to help the Raiders thwart a comeback by Willamette University with a 34-27 victory Saturday night.
Willamette, which trailed at one time by as many as 13 points, had pulled ahead four minutes earlier on a 9-yard scoring run by Ryan Whitcomb for a 27-26 lead with 14:56 to play.
Undaunted, the Raiders (2-2) marched 52 yards on 10 plays for the eventual game-winner, capped by a two-point conversion pass from Bryan Lee-Lauduski to Derrell Hutsona.
Willamette (1-3) later managed to advance to its own 42 but had its final drive stall with 1:30 to go. Southern Oregon ran out the clock from there.
Lee-Lauduski completed 22 of 31 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns to pace SOU, while Marlon Rosales led the ground game with 66 yards rushing and one TD on 21 attempts.
Rosales scored on a 1-yard plunge to open the game and SOU's lead blossomed to 14-0 when Lee-Lauduski connected on a 2-yard score with Kevin Holtzman.
After Willamette's Marcus Ford scored on a 21-yard fumble recovery, Lee-Lauduski hit Tim Greenidge for another 2-yard score to make it 20-7 with only 28 seconds to go until halftime.
That 13-point edge was short-lived, however, as James Yamashita returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a score.
Willamette managed its first lead of the game when C.J. Washington raced 27 yards to paydirt on the opening drive of the third quarter, but Lee-Lauduski connected with Holtzman on a 3-yard score to answer for SOU and make it 26-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Raiders limited the Bearcats to 279 yards of total offense, with Washington doing the brunt of the damage with 109 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Southern Oregon 7 13 6 8 ""34
Willamette 0 14 7 6 ""27
Rosales — run (O'Neill kick)
Holtzman 2 pass from Lee-Lauduski (O'Neill kick)
Ford 21 fumble recovery (Bicocca kick)
Greenidge 2 pass from Lee-Lauduski (kick failed)
Yamashita 89 kickoff return (Bicocca kick)
Washington 27 run (Bicocca kick)
Holtzman — pass from Lee-Lauduski (pass failed)
Whitcomb 9 run (run failed)
Van Zant 2 run (Hutsona pass from Lee-Lauduski)
First Downs 20 17
Rushes-Yards 40-154 39-221
Passing Yards 235 58
Comp-Att-Int 22-31-0 7-17-1
Total Yards 389 279
Punts 3-38.7 5-42.2
Fumbles-lost 2-2 3-0
Penalties-yards 3-31 3-15
RUSHING""Southern Oregon, Rosales 21-66, Hutsona 9-41, Van Zant 5-26, Lee-Lauduski 4-19, Burchfield 1-2. Willamette, Washington 16-109, Whitcomb 10-57, Anthony 5-36, Leslie 6-14, Woo 2-5.
PASSING""Southern Oregon, Lee-Lauduski 22-31-0 235. Willamette, Leslie 5-15-1 34, Whitcomb 2-2-0 24.
RECEIVING""Southern Oregon, Greenidge 4-62, Holtzman 4-46, Price 3-37, Whitehead 3-28, Harding 3-27, Patenaude 2-12, Jorgensen 1-10, Hutsona 1-8, Beach 1-5. Willamette, Davis 3-31, Shepherd 2-24, Krikorian 1-3, Washington 1-0.
At Salem, Southern Oregon defeated Corban 30-15, 30-19, 30-16 in Cascade Conference play for its sixth straight win.
The Raiders' were led by Mia Wortel's match-high 14 kills, while Jaclyn Hamilton-Smith and Richelle Millsap added 13 each.
Lindsay Stone handed out a match-high 54 assists for SOU, and Raider libero Emily Stone anchored the back line with a match-high 22 digs.
SOU is 11-4 overall, 5-1 in conference.
At Eugene, Kevin Jeffers placed second in the Northwest Classic at Lane Community College as Southern Oregon opened its season.
Competing in the Open Division, Jeffers covered 5,000 meters in 16 minutes, 10 seconds. Cameron Kreuz of SOU was third in 16:18, and David Laney was eighth in 16:41.
For the women, Katelyn Alley led the Raiders, placing fifth in 21:01, and Kristin Haga, a freshman from Central Point, was sixth in 21:08.
Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.
Raiders 'O' returns to form, beats Willamette