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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Game Day / A Look at Today's Key Matchups

October 24, 1998

NCAA DIVISION I-AA

MONTANA STATE (4-2, 2-1) vs. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (4-2, 3-1)

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

Radio: KCSN-FM (88.5)

Is it true Cal State Northridge players are dipping their hands in crazy glue before this game? The Matadors last week fumbled six times and lost four in a 35-21 setback at woebegone Cal State Sacramento, winner of one previous Big Sky Conference game. It wasn't just the turnovers that destroyed Northridge, but where they occurred. Four came inside Northridge territory and Sacramento turned two into touchdowns. Awful field position also hampered the Matadors in their other loss, at Boise State on Sept. 5. Northridge opponents have started nine drives in Matador territory and scored five times, including three touchdowns, and missed another chance on a botched 20-yard field-goal attempt. The Matadors can't serve it up on a platter for the likes of Montana State--or anyone else--and expect to win the Big Sky championship. Northridge, ranked No. 24 by the Sports Network, is tied with Weber State for first place in the conference, with Montana State one-half game behind. The Matadors and Montana State are evenly matched: Northridge is averaging 373.2 yards, the Bobcats 395.7; Northridge gives up 373.8 yards, the Bobcats 374.7. Montana State, ranked No. 24 by USA Today/ESPN, banks on senior Rob Compson to direct the team's balanced attack. Compson's 470 yards passing in Montana State's 34-31 loss to Portland State last week were a school single-game record. The Bobcats, however, normally run the ball more than they throw it. Lathian Tyler (374 yards rushing) and Eric Kinnaman (245 yards) are averaging a combined 103.1 yards. Montana State allowed 467 yards passing to Portland State, which is good news for Northridge's Marcus Brady (1,594 yards passing, 13 touchdowns), who has the third-highest passing efficiency rating in Division I-AA with 164.33 points. Northridge, which is 0-2 against the Bobcats, has won seven consecutive Big Sky games at home.

JUNIOR COLLEGES

* SANTA BARBARA (0-5, 0-1) vs. CANYONS (5-1, 2-0)

At Canyons, 7 p.m.

Canyons climbed to No. 10 in the state and No. 25 in the nation after upsetting Hancock, 42-41, in the final seconds. The Cougars also claimed sole possession of first in the Western State Conference Northern Division. After posting the biggest victory of the season, Coach Chuck Lyon is warning against a letdown. That seems unlikely, considering Santa Barbara's anemic offense. The Vaqueros, coming off a bye, lost to Hancock, 56-3, two weeks ago and have scored only 29 points. Santa Barbara ranks last in the WSC in offense. Canyons' offense is hitting its stride under the poised performance of sophomore quarterback Kevin Carrasco, who was selected state player of the week after throwing for 399 yards and four touchdowns against Hancock. Carrasco leads the WSC with 12 touchdown passes and has completed 59.2 percent of his passes. Five of his completions went to Mark Hamilton for 147 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown bomb with 51 seconds to play. Jason Parks ranks fourth in the WSC in rushing with 564 yards.

* SANTA MONICA (3-2, 2-0) vs. MOORPARK (4-1, 2-0)

At Moorpark, 7 p.m.

Santa Monica and Moorpark, along with West L.A., are locked in a three-way tie for first in the WSC Southern Division. Moorpark has won four in a row and appears to be improving. The Raiders rank first in the WSC in offense and defense. Running back Carl Richardson, second in the conference with 777 rushing yards, is questionable because of a wrist injury suffered in last week's 42-24 victory over Harbor. But depth at running back is not a problem. Sophomore Emory Holmes rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns--all in the fourth quarter--against Harbor. Freshman Emmanuel Evans from Birmingham High likely will see action. Quarterbacks Jim Ange and Bryan Spencer have platooned successfully. Santa Monica relies heavily on sophomore quarterback Dylen Smith, who ranks fifth in the WSC with 1,024 yards and first in completion percentage at 59.6. Smith was 25 of 31 passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-33 victory over East L.A. last week.

* GLENDALE (2-4, 1-1) vs. HANCOCK (5-1, 1-1)

At Righetti High, 7 p.m.

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