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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | NORTHRIDGE FOOTBALL
NOTEBOOK

Idaho State Poised to Play Role of Spoiler

November 17, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Facing a losing team with a lame-duck coach can be dangerous. Going against one when you have plenty riding on the outcome can be fatal.

That's the message Cal State Northridge football Coach Ron Ponciano is sending the Matadors (7-3, 5-2), who play at Idaho State (2-8, 1-6) on Saturday night in a Big Sky Conference finale.

A victory gives Northridge a share of the Big Sky title, their first, and possibly the conference's top seeding for the Division I-AA playoffs.

"Historically, teams play very hard in the last game for a coach going out," Ponciano said.

Which makes every departing coach, such as Idaho State's Tom Walsh, wonder why the team couldn't play like that before.

Walsh was fired two weeks ago but is hanging around, either to hopefully pad his 5-16 record with the Bengals or because the next stagecoach out of Pocatello was full.

"I'm sure they feel they can knock us out of the playoffs," Ponciano said.

The Matadors have never participated in the playoffs since moving up to I-AA in 1993.

But worry not, says sophomore free safety and prophet Jeremy Golden.

"Every game I felt we were going to win, I feel it about a week in advance," Golden said after Northridge's 42-38 nonconference victory at Southwest Missouri State on Saturday.

"I feel it now."

*

Redshirt freshman Marcus Brady's 466 yards passing on Saturday earned him Big Sky offensive co-player of the week honors with Montana State quarterback Rob Compson.

Brady passed for four touchdowns, ran for one and caught a pass for another at Southwest Missouri State.

Brady moved to fourth place on Northridge's single-season passing list with 2,671 yards.

Ahead of Brady are Aaron Flowers with 3,540 yards in 1996 and 3,226 last year, and Steve Duddy with 2,705 in 1982.

Compson passed for 357 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes in Montana State's 66-35 victory over Idaho State.

*

Northridge is ranked No. 23 by ESPN/USA Today and No. 5 by the Sports Network.

The Matadors are ranked No. 114 in the Sagarin ratings, tops among Big Sky schools and 15th among I-AA teams.

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