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After Tuning In, Matadors Lost Their Focus


POCATELLO, Idaho — From the hotel to the restaurant, from the restaurant to the hotel.

Cal State Northridge football players and coaches burned a path going back and forth to watch on TV the Big Sky Conference game between Montana and Montana State on Saturday afternoon.

The game was broadcast on Fox Sports Northwest but the team's hotel did not offer that channel, so the Matadors were forced to improvise.

Montana and Montana State entered the game tied with Northridge for first place in the Big Sky and the outcome affected the Matadors for the Division I-AA playoffs.

By the second half, the players were back at the hotel, preparing to face Idaho State. With Montana State ahead, 21-20, early in the fourth quarter, the Northridge coaches left the restaurant.

Nice timing. Soon after, Montana scored and went on to win, 28-20.

But all the attention turned out to be for naught. Idaho State's 32-29 victory over the Matadors took care of that.


Among those watching the game at the restaurant was Manny Marquez, Northridge's senior kicker, who made the trip on his own with his family.

It was the third game Marquez missed since straining a thigh muscle.


The Matadors lost offensive left guard David San Vicente with a broken left leg in the second quarter.

San Vicente, from Birmingham High, was Northridge's only four-year player besides Marquez.


Junior linebacker Brennen Swanson set a Northridge single-season record with 15 1/2 sacks.

The record-breaker came late in the second quarter when Swanson dropped Kevin McCarthy for a two-yard loss.

Swanson has 19 career sacks, one behind Dan Lazarovits, who had 20 from 1994-97.


Junior receiver Aaron Arnold's two touchdown receptions gave him 21 in three seasons with the Matadors, best in school history. Arnold has 12 receiving touchdowns this season, which ties him with David Romines (1996).

Arnold scored against Idaho State on two 10-yard passes from Marcus Brady, the first in the second quarter and the second with 1:28 to play that gave the Matadors a short-lived 29-24 lead.


Nancy Graziano, Idaho State's associate athletic director, is probably more familiar with Northridge than anyone in Pocatello.

Graziano was an undergraduate women's basketball coach for the Matadors in the late 1960s before building successful girls' basketball, volleyball and softball teams at Alemany High.

She led Alemany to 13 consecutive playoff appearances in basketball and finished with a 284-43 record in 15 seasons. She led the softball team to 12 league championships and the volleyball team to the playoffs 12 consecutive times.

Graziano became a women's basketball assistant at Idaho State in 1985.

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