Raider collects national award

If Southern Oregon University's football coaches are correct in their assessments of Melvin Mason, this won't be the last time the running back makes national headlines.

Whatever his future holds, he'll be hard-pressed to top the show he put on Saturday at Sacramento State.

Mason was named the NAIA offensive player of the week Monday for his efforts in a narrow loss to Sacramento State. The redshirt-freshman turned Hornets Stadium into his personal playground with 20 rushes for 236 yards and two scores to go with five catches for 51 yards.

Mason's first touchdown went for 76 yards to give the Raiders a 42-35 lead in the third quarter. His second went for 59 yards and put the Raiders up with 1:48 left in the game. The Hornets tied it up on the ensuing drive and went on to win 63-56 in overtime.

The Vacaville, Calif., native's average of 11.8 yards per carry was the fifth best single-game mark in school history.

He's just the 10th Raider football player to earn the national honor. Junior quarterback Austin Dodge did it twice last year.

"These are the kind of things we thought he was capable of when we recruited him, and he showed why," SOU head coach Craig Howard said. "He's an extremely talented player and we're looking forward to seeing a lot more of that stuff."

Mason didn't appear in the Raiders' first game of the season but went for 73 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against Montana Western.

Led by him and Zach Marshall, 179.7 of SOU's 545 yards per game are coming on the ground.

The Raiders (0-3) play next on Saturday at Eastern Oregon in a Frontier Conference rivalry matchup.

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