DATE: Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 -- 6 p.m. (PDT)
Raider Stadium – Ashland, Ore.
THIS WEEK: After a flight to Oregon last week, Azusa Pacific will bus it to “The Beaver State” this week when the Cougars visit NAIA rival Southern Oregon University in a 6 p.m. game, Saturday (Oct. 30) in Ashland, Ore.
ON THE INTERNET: Azusa Pacific’s student-run KAPU radio is not traveling to Ashland for the game. However, the game can be watched live through the Southern Oregon broadcast at www.souraiders.com.
SERIES NOTES: Southern Oregon leads the all-times series with Azusa Pacific, 8-3. The Raiders, who opened the series with 4 straight wins , are on another 4-game winning streak over Azusa Pacific following last year’s 20-13 victory in Azusa.
The Cougars have won just once in 5 previous trips to Ashland, taking the 2004 visit by a narrow 13-9 count. The Raiders won the last meeting at the foot of Mount Ashland by a 16-14 verdict in 2007 when Corey O’Neill made a 43-yard field goal, his third 3-pointer of the game, with 1:23 left in the contest.
The Raiders own a trio of blowout victories over Azusa Pacific (31-0 in 2000, 64-21 in 2001, and 57-7 in 2006), but the other 8 meetings have all been decided by 10 points or less and 3 by a field goal or less.
MORE SERIES HISTORY: From the first time they met on the gridiron through the past decade, the Southern Oregon-Azusa Pacific game has held an added level of emotion that made the game an instant rivalry. It was Southern Oregon which snapped Azusa Pacific’s school-record 11-game home winning streak and beat the NAIA defending national champion, 42-31, in the 2 schools’ first-ever meeting in 1999. Yet, when playoff berths were handed out a month later, it was Azusa Pacific that garnered the berth awarded to NAIA independents, not Southern Oregon. So the next year in Azusa Pacific’s first visit to Ashland, Southern Oregon made sure there was no doubt which was the better NAIA independent, hammering the Cougars, 31-0. However, ten weeks later, Azusa Pacific again got the playoff nod, and again at the expense of SOU. Seething at the snubs, Southern Oregon took out 2 years of frustration on the NAIA and Azusa Pacific by clobbering the Cougars in 2001 in Azusa, 64-21. This time the Raiders did grab that elusive NAIA playoff berth, though at 4-5 Azusa Pacific was never in contention for it. In 2002, Southern Oregon got further revenge by beating Azusa Pacific, 17-14, on a 38-yard field goal with 28 seconds left. It was the Cougars’ only blemish on a 9-1 record, and it kept Azusa Pacific out of the NAIA playoffs. SOU, however, got in and advanced to quarterfinals.
vs. NAIA: Azusa Pacific’s opportunities to play NAIA opponents have been rare over the decades. From 1983 to 1997, Azusa Pacific played just 5 NAIA schools. However, in 2004, the Cougars picked up the pace and played 6 NAIA teams in the regular season (9 in all with postseason play). Three years ago, Azusa Pacific played 5, but the life of an independent has its ebbs and flows, and this year the Cougars are facing just 2 — Webber International and Southern Oregon. The Cougars are 63-67 all-time vs. NAIA teams, but since their 1998 NAIA championship season, they are 26-23 which includes an 8-5 mark in postseason play.
IN OREGON: Azusa Pacific is 2-8 all-time in the state of Oregon. Other than a bi-annual visit to Southern Oregon, the Cougars have also played at George Fox College (1967), Oregon Tech (1969), Eastern Oregon (2004) and Western Oregon (2000 and 20010). The Cougars’ 2 victories in Oregon came at George Fox in 1967 (33-21) and at Southern Oregon in 2004 (13-9).
NATIONAL RANKING: After 6 consecutive weeks in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, Azusa Pacific fell out of this week’s Top 25 Poll. The Cougars did receive votes. In addition, Azusa Pacific is not ranked in this week’s Victory Sports Network poll.
MILESTONES: Heading into the Southern Oregon game, Cougar QB John van den Raadt needs 137 yards to move into second place on Azusa Pacific’s all-time passing chart with 4,437 yards. In addition, another 72 rushing yards will not only enhance van den Raadt’s record as the school’s all-time leading rushing QB, but it was also move him into 12th place on the program’s all-time rushing chart with 1,358 yards … Junior DE Jake Jones needs 1 more quarterback sack for the most by a Cougar since Chuck Asiodu’s 14 in 11 games in 2004.
CONNECTIONS: Southern Oregon defensive lineman Jon Meyers played with Cougar punter Paul Vanderwulp at Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash. Cougar OT Luke Marquardt also attended Skyline but did not play varsity football for the Spartans.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Azusa Pacific’s playoff hopes are dim but not dead. Webber International’s homecoming loss to Huntingdon (35-23) this past Saturday kept the door open for a possible NAIA berth for the Cougars. However, Azusa Pacific has to win its final 2 games and climb back into the Top 20 by the final NAIA Coaches’ Poll on Nov. 14. In addition, the Cougars will need Webber International to lose at least 1, if not more, of its final 3 games in order for Azusa Pacific to return to the NAIA postseason for the first time since 2005.