GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Azusa Pacific (0-1, 0-0) at Dixie State University (0-1, 0-0), 6 p.m., Hansen Stadium
Previous Meeting: Azusa Pacific 23, Dixie State 21 (Nov. 3, 2012 at Dixie. Azusa kicks a field goal with eight seconds left to split the season series with Dixie)
Broadcast: SportsRadio 106.1 FM
Head Coach: Scott Brumfeld (4th year, 6-27 overall)
Offense: Pro Set
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Lost to Idaho State 40-14
Players to watch: Defensively, linebackers Jake Duncan, Nick Largent and the defensive front seven will need to stop Azusa Pacific’s running attack and apply pressure against the spread offense. Defensive backs Daniel Moffett and Zac Christian will have to keep their heads on a swivel in coverage. On offense, Griff Robles favorite targets are tight end Joe Don Duncan and WRs Mitch Frei and Randon Willard. Robles is a big, physical QB who can also punish with the run to keep the defense honest.
Trend: The Red Storm opened the season moving the ball well against Idaho State. The defense will need to step up this game to stop Azusa RB Terrell Watson. He ran wild against Dixie last year (214 yds) and currently leads the conference in rushing yards per game (174).
Coach: Victor Santa Cruz (8th year, 33-43)
Last Game: Lost to Grand Valley State 38-17
Players to watch: Offensively, the person to stop will be running back Terrell Watson, who is averaging six yards per carry and has a touchdown in seven consecutive games, including two last week. While the Cougars line up in a spread offense, they will run the ball two-thirds of the time. Defensively, returning all-conference players Tyler Thornton (strong safety) and Sean Barber (linebacker) lead the team in tackles. Barber also had two takeaways last week, a fumble recovery and an interception.
These two teams finished at the bottom of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference last year, splitting 1-1 against each other. Both losses were by two points and the visiting team won each time. These two teams also return the most starters from last year’s teams. (Dixie-15, Azusa-14) Both teams also have competing conference MVP candidates in Dixie’s Duncan and Azusa’s Watson). If Dixie’s defensive front seven controls the line and holds Watson, Dixie should win. If Watson has a career day, forcing Robles to match Azusa in scoring, it will probably result in Dixie’s second loss.
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