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Ponciano Criticizes Matadors' Attitude

September 29, 1998

Cal State Northridge Coach Ron Ponciano is demanding an attitude adjustment from the Matadors.

Ponciano remains upset about Northridge's 10 penalties for 81 yards in a 38-35 victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday, a game the Matadors nearly let slip away.

"Right away you could see the game wasn't the most important thing to some guys," Ponciano said. "How the individuals looked, how they wore their socks, was more important, it seemed to me.

"I've got a big ache in my chest about what happened."

Ponciano said he expects more discipline from the Matadors (2-1) when they host Southern Utah (1-2) in a nonconference game Saturday.

They'll need to be.

Southern Utah, a Division I-AA independent, runs a multiple-option attack that ranks fourth in the division in rushing, averaging 317.3 yards per game.

"Most option teams will get pretty good [gaps] between [offensive] linemen," Ponciano said. "[The Thunderbirds] stretch you out farther than anyone else.

"We are going to mess around with a bunch of different [defensive] schemes and see what works."

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Northridge junior linebacker Brennen Swanson was selected Big Sky Conference defensive player of the week.

Swanson, 6 feet 3 and 230 pounds, made nine tackles against Eastern Washington. He stopped a ballcarrier for a loss on third down and sacked Griffin Garske on the next play during the Eagles' last possession.

"He just kept shining when we needed him," Ponciano said.

It's the second time Northridge players have earned player-of-the-week honors on consecutive weeks since joining the Big Sky in 1996.

Cornerback Chazz Moore and quarterback Marcus Brady last week were the offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively. Former quarterback Aaron Flowers was the offensive player of the week two times in a row in 1996.

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Brady, a redshirt freshman, ranks sixth in I-AA in pass efficiency with 160.4 points, best among Big Sky quarterbacks.

He has completed 62 of 94 passes for 782 yards and no interceptions.

Brady is 11th in I-AA in total offense, averaging 260.33 yards. The Matadors are 11th in passing at 276.0 yards per game.

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The Matadors moved up in the Sagarin ratings.

Northridge is ranked 119th with 55.33 points, an improvement of seven spots over last week. Weber State (4-0), ranked No. 105 with 58.08 points, and No. 113 Montana (2-2) with 56.50 are the only Big Sky teams ranked ahead of the Matadors. The poll voters, though, didn't think enough of the Matadors.

Northridge is ranked 26th by the Sports Network, one slot higher than last week. Interestingly, that's six spots below Northern Arizona, a team the Matadors trashed, 41-10, on Sept. 19 in Flagstaff, Ariz.

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San Jose State's 37-20 victory over New Mexico on Saturday in a Western Athletic Conference game gave an edge to Dave Baldwin over Jim Fenwick in the battle of former Northridge coaches.

Baldwin, in his second season heading the Spartans, coached at Northridge in 1995-96. Fenwick, New Mexico's offensive coordinator, coached Northridge last season.

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