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Season Will Heat Up for Northridge in Texas

September 08, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK

Cal State Northridge will pick on someone its own size Saturday when the Matadors play a nonconference football game at Southwest Texas State.

No more Division I opponents this season for Northridge, blown out by Air Force, 55-6, in its opener last weekend at Colorado Springs. The Matadors match up evenly, more or less, with Southwest Texas, a Division I-AA school in San Marcos with an enrollment of about 21,000.

Southwest Texas has defeated Northridge in two games, 43-14 in 1994 and 28-23 in 1995, both times in Texas. The Bobcats, 3-8 last season and 2-5 in the Southland Conference, defeated Midwestern State, 34-13, last week.

"It'll be more of a level playing field," Coach Jeff Kearin of Northridge said. "But they're a good team."

For the second consecutive week, the Matadors must contend not only with an opponent but the climate.

The temperature has reached boiling levels this week in San Marcos. Tuesday, it was 112 degrees. By kickoff Saturday at 7 p.m. CDT, the mercury is expected to be hovering near 100.

Last week, in the near-7,000-foot elevation at Colorado Springs, linebacker Cos Abercrombie fell victim to dehydration and even the Northridge cheerleaders complained of fatigue.

"We'll see," Kearin said. "We've been warning [the players], so hopefully they'll be hydrated."

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The Marcus Brady-led Northridge passing attack was grounded like never before against Air Force.

Brady, who owns or is within reach of most Northridge career passing records, had career-low totals of 15 completions and 102 yards. Brady's 29 passes were the second-fewest in his two seasons as a starter.

Brady, a junior, has passed for 6,411 yards in his career, 356 shy of Aaron Flowers' school record. Brady, with 51 career touchdown passes, is three touchdown passes shy of Flowers' school record.

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Receiver Jason Stone and backup quarterback Mitch Ryerson, suspended for the Matadors' opener for breaking team rules, will be in uniform against Southwest Texas.

Stone, a 6-5 and 210-pound transfer from Santa Barbara City College, could make an impact.

D.J. Hackett, in his first game for Northridge, caught five passes for 43 yards against Air Force.

Running back Matt Hicks, who transferred from Air Force and began practicing with Northridge last week, did not practice this week because of flu. Hicks is not expected to make the trip to San Marcos.

Safety Sean Atkins, who bruised a knee against Air Force, also will not play.

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All nine Big Sky Conference teams play Saturday.

Montana State, Northern Arizona and Idaho State play their openers. Montana State hosts Humboldt State, Northern Arizona hosts Chadron State and Idaho State hosts Montana Tech.

Defending champion Montana, ranked No. 10 in Division I-AA, plays at Idaho in the teams' 80th meeting. Montana lost its opener to sixth-ranked Hofstra, 10-9.

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