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Ncaa Division I-aa

October 03, 1998


At North Campus Stadium, 3:05 p.m.

Radio: KCSN-FM (88.5)

Just when Northridge's bewildered defense believed it had seen it all, along comes Southern Utah with its multiple-option attack, the one that averages 317.3 yards rushing. The Thunderbirds spread their linemen wider than the Grand Canyon, giving quarterback Matt Cannon and his backs huge gaps to dash through. Cannon, a sophomore, ranks 10th in rushing in Division I-AA at 140.3 yards a game. The Matadors can take solace, however, in knowing that fullback Brook Madsen remains sidelined with a broken arm incurred Sept. 12 in a 45-35 victory over Montana, then ranked No. 3. Madsen last season rushed for 1,214 yards. Another positive for Northridge is that Southern Utah fumbles a lot (11 times, eight lost) and can't--or won't--throw. The Thunderbirds have completed 12 of 44 passes for 208 yards and no touchdowns. They're not swift at defending the pass, either, allowing 273.3 yards a game. That's about what Northridge's freshman quarterback Marcus Brady averages. Brady, who offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie says is beginning to really grasp Northridge's run-and-shoot scheme, last week led the Matadors to a 38-35 victory over Eastern Washington. Brady has passed for 807 yards and seven touchdowns, and ranks sixth in I-AA passing efficiency with a 160.4 rating. The Matadors might benefit more from a ball-control attack than quick hits through the air to keep Southern Utah's offense off the field. That means the offensive line needs to give running room to Brady, an option threat, and Melvin Blue. The senior transfer from Utah State is averaging 80.0 yards rushing and hasn't had one longer than 21 yards. Southern Utah's losses came against No. 2-ranked McNeese State, 66-17, and last week to No. 11 Western Illinois, 31-3. Northridge defeated the Thunderbirds, 34-28, in 1995 to even the series, 5-5.


* EAST L.A. (1-1) vs. CANYONS (2-1)

At Canyons, 7 p.m.

Injuries continue to mount for Canyons, which rallied for a dramatic 50-46 victory last week against Compton in its first home game in 17 years. Tackle Travis Knowles, among the team's best lineman, tore ligaments in his left knee against Compton and is sidelined indefinitely. Linebacker Joe Dunster is recovering from a concussion and will not play. Freshman Peter Dirksen, the front-runner among three quarterbacks, remains sidelined because of a knee injury suffered two weeks ago. Kevin Carrasco, hobbled by a sprained finger on his passing hand, was selected Western State Conference player of the week after passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns against Compton. Jason Parks, fourth in the WSC in rushing with 293 yards and four touchdowns, has been the Cougars' offensive spark. Larry Anglin of East L.A. has rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown.

* PIERCE (0-3) vs. COMPTON (0-2)

At Compton, 1 p.m.

With Pierce's roster hovering in the high 30s, second-half fatigue plagues the Brahmas, whose losing streak has reached 31 games. "No matter what kind of shape our guys are in, we're going to be tired in the second half," Coach Bill Norton said. The schedule does not bode well for Pierce, which begins WSC Northern Division play next week against Canyons. This could be the Brahmas' best chance for a victory this season. The passing game, surprisingly, is among the best in the WSC, thanks largely to quarterback Calvin Zinck's quick release. Zinck ranks second in the WSC with 669 passing yards and has thrown five touchdown passes. Vaughn Corley has 24 receptions to rank first in the WSC. Bruce Johnson and Basil Duncantell each have 11 receptions. Compton thrives on playing aggressive defense, but the Tartars were penalized 24 times for more than 200 yards against Canyons, including several personal fouls. Desmon Winston and Vincent Starks each have rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown.

* HANCOCK (3-0) vs. VALLEY (1-1)

At Valley, 7 p.m.

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