Record-setting running back, potent Southern Oregon ground game bury Northern
It started out like a snowflake and it snowballed into an avalanche.
The Southern Oregon Raiders got a record-setting rushing performance from All-American tailback Dusty McGrorty to bury the Lights 61-0 Saturday in Ashland, Ore.
The Raiders needed just over two minutes to score on their opening drive and never looked back, rolling up eight more touchdowns and 580 yards in total offense to end the game as quickly as it started.
Northern didn't help matters, committing six turnovers and never getting into any type of offensive rhythm.
"We have to get away from the snowball effect," said head coach Walt Currie. "When they score on us or we commit a turnover, we need to regroup and refocus, not commit another one."
As the Southern Oregon's lead snowballed, so did McGrorty's rushing numbers.
The senior rushed for a career-high 250 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. McGrorty's performance moved him to the top of the school's all-time rushing list.
"He's the best running back we've ever played against," Currie said. "They were trying to get him the record, so he played almost the entire game and he ran like he wanted the record."
SOU, which came into the game 0-3 on the season, defeated Northern for the fourth time in as many years.
Northern didn't score on the Raiders in those four losses. The Lights' best scoring opportunity came in the fourth quarter when Chris Nagel's 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Northern's offense only made it inside the red zone once.
The six turnovers definitely didn't help Northern's offensive woes.
"That's the youth showing with the turnovers," Currie said. "We can't turn it over six times like that and expect to win or even be in the game."
There were still some bright spots for Northern. Because the Raiders were so far ahead, the Lights were able to play several of their younger players in the second half.
Northern was led by quarterback Neill Crandell, who threw for 125 yards and rushed for 24 more. Nick Arnold added four catches for 56 yards.
As for the Raiders, Currie found them strikingly similar to last weekend's opponent, Carroll College.
"They're right up there with Carroll in terms of talent and athleticism," Currie said. "Their problem is since they're independent, nobody in NAIA wants to play them. Instead, they have to move up a division to find games."
Northern will host Rocky Mountain College for its homecoming festivities this weekend.