Jack Singler's 7-yard touchdown pass to Zack Davis with 51 seconds remaining lifted No. 12 Southern Oregon over the No. 22 Montana Western football team, 24-20, in Ashland, Ore., on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (2-2, 1-2 Frontier), who had been limited to a second-quarter TD, rallied from a 17-7 deficit as quarterback J.D. Ferris engineered fourth-quarter scoring drives of 88 and 80 yards for a 20-17 lead.
But Singler responded with a 91-yard drive of his own — aided by a Western pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-20 — for the winning margin. Two plays after the penalty, Singler hit Davis with a 49-yard bomb to get the Raiders (1-2, 1-1) in the red zone.
The national runner-up a season ago, SOU avoided an 0-3 start to its season while handing new Western coach Ryan Nourse his second straight loss.
Western's normally strong running game sorely missed injured star tailback Sam Rutherford, and was limited to just 101 yards on 29 carries.
That opened the door for a career day from Ferris, who completed 30 of 49 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns. He was corralled for just a single sack, but also threw an interception.
Singler got the better of the duel by going 32 of 49 for 387 yards and two scores, and was aided by SOU's 175 yards on the ground.
Ferris found his stride early in the fourth on the 88-yard drive, completing 5 of 9 passes — including the 10-yard score to tight end Charlie Switzer. Following a quick stop from his defense, he then led the 80-yard march by going 5 of 8 and finding wideout Tyler Murray for a 7-yard TD.
Beau Brekke led Western with six catches for 118 yards, while Matt Retzlaff had nine grabs for 100 yards for SOU.
Rey Vega had a game-high 91 yards rushing for the Raiders, while Hunter Thomsen got 72 yards on 17 carries for the Bulldogs as Rutherford's replacement.
Freshman linebacker Jason Ferris led the UMW defense with 15 tackles, 11 solo, and a forced fumble on the day.
Western will look to halt its skid when it hosts MSU-Northern — a surprise 28-14 winner over Carroll — on Saturday at 1 p.m.