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Northridge Tries to Be First-Rate

October 05, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK

The way Cal State Northridge has been playing, don't expect lofty ratings for tonight's Big Sky Conference game of the week against equally mediocre Weber State televised live by Fox Sports Net.

Still, it isn't often the Matadors are on the tube.

"It's cool because my dad gets to watch it," fullback Crayton Milton said. "Before, he was listening to it on the radio over the Internet. I'm hyped."

Northridge (1-3, 0-2 in conference play) is in need of any incentive while trying to avoid sliding further in the Big Sky standings. The Matadors are 4-0 in conference games against Weber State (2-3, 1-2), but after consecutive losses at home to Northern Arizona and Idaho State, Northridge cannot be considered a favorite.

"They're a little excited about playing on TV," Coach Jeff Kearin of Northridge said. "It's good because we're beginning to play better."

Northridge last appeared on local television in 1997 against Hawaii. For most of the Matadors, it marks a first.

"TV makes it a whole lot better," receiver Drew Amerson said. "We'll probably never be on TV again. A lot of people around here are going to be watching."


Amerson is expected to return after being sidelined two games because of a knee injury. But the Matadors' offense has its share of bruises.

Tackle Keith Kincaid is limping and guard Aschon Madjid suffered a bruised shoulder against Idaho State. Receiver Jamaal Perry is questionable because of a sprained ankle.

The emergence of Bruce Molock, who rushed for 199 yards against Idaho State, made matters more clear at running back. Matt Hicks, a transfer from Air Force and former All-City back for North Hollywood High, will redshirt.

As for kicking, Kearin said Derek Brown will return to duty, despite a missed extra-point in overtime against Idaho State. Punter Ethan Beck also is ready to handle kicking chores.

"Derek will start," Kearin said. "I feel very confident in Derek, but I will not hesitate to bring in Ethan."


Something has to give in this game.

Weber State ranks last in the Big Sky in rushing, while Northridge is last in the Big Sky in rushing defense. Northridge ranks last in scoring defense, while the Wildcats rank seventh in scoring in the nine-team Big Sky.

Weber State last defeated Northridge, 27-12, in 1993. Northridge holds a 6-3 series lead dating to 1968.


Northridge will compete as an independent in football beginning next season but the Matadors likely will maintain rivalries with a handful of Big Sky teams.

Dick Dull, Northridge athletic director, is close to finalizing next season's schedule. Northridge, which will join the Big West Conference in most sports, is negotiating to continuing playing nonconference games against Weber State, Cal State Sacramento and Northern Arizona.

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