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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Area College Notebook

April 03, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK

Cal State Northridge will play only three football games at home in 2001, its first season as an independent after leaving the Big Sky Conference.

Northridge (4-7 last season) will play at home against Southwest Texas State on Sept. 15, Western Oregon on Oct. 6 and Cal State Sacramento on Nov. 3. The Matadors will play eight road games, beginning with a Thursday night opener at Northern Arizona on Aug. 29.

Financial constraints precluded Northridge attracting opponents for home games, Athletic Director Dick Dull said. Northridge earned only about $30,000 in gate receipts for five home games last season.

Northridge will pay Western Oregon, a Division II school, $25,000 to play at Northridge this season.

"We have had a very difficult time in terms of finding opponents to come here that we can afford," Dull said. "There are very few Division I-AA schools west of the Mississippi River. We already are subsidizing football at a considerable loss."

Northridge will play five former Big Sky opponents--Northern Arizona, Montana State (Sept. 29), Eastern Washington (Oct. 27), Sacramento and Portland State (Nov. 17).

The Matadors will play two opponents--Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 22 and Troy State on Oct. 20--for the first time.

Northridge plays at UC Davis on Oct. 13 and at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Nov. 10.

Northridge will earn about $150,000 for playing eight road games, Dull said.

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Northridge will conduct an intrasquad football scrimmage at 3:30 p.m. Friday at North Campus Stadium. The public is invited.

The Matadors have participated in spring practice for two weeks, during which Coach Jeff Kearin has considered changes.

Ruben Gomez has switched from receiver to first-string fullback.

Alan Taylor, who sustained a season-ending ankle injury days before the opener last season, and Terrelus Wright, who ranked second on the team with 300 yards rushing last season, are battling for the starting tailback job.

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