GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Dixie State University (0-1 in RMAC, 0-1 overall) at South Dakota Mines (0-0 in RMAC, 1-0 overall) today, 6 p.m., O’Harra Stadium, Rapid City, S.D.
Previous Meeting: South Dakota Mines 31, Dixie State 27 – Hail Mary pass by freshman quarterback Josh Thompson is intercepted as time expired.
Overall Series Record: HardRockers hold a 2-1 series advantage
Broadcast: (Audio) ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM and internet (SportsRadio977.com); (Video-SDSMT Stretch Internet//portal.stretchinternet.com/csu-sdsmt/)
Head coach: Shay McClure (2nd year, 6-6)
Offense: Pro Set
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Lost to New Mexico Highlands last week on the road, 23-22
Players to watch: Quarterback Malik Watson played well in his debut. A late interception was costly. Sei-J Lauago led the team with 132 yards rushing. Orlando Wallace led the team in week one with eight receptions. Kasey Allison led the team with 87 yards receiving and had seven receptions. Defensively, linebackers Noe Perez and Tane Tuifua each had 10 tackles. Tuifua also had an interception.
Head Coach: Zach Tinker (2nd year at SDM, 6-6)
Defense: Base 4-3 with multiple coverages
Last Game: Beat William Jewell College on the road last week 42-27
Players to watch: Jake Sullivan will steer the offense. Last year Sullivan passed for 185 yards against the Blazers. He is also a danger to run the ball. Joining him in the backfield is Kevin Thompson. Thompson ran for 138 yards last year against DSU, including an 84-yard touchdown run. Dorian Cowart will also get some touches. Sullivan’s favorite targets this year are RB Brandon Labrie (7 catches) and WR Isaiah Manley (6 catches). Defensively, LB Troy Kurtz leads the team in tackles. Just behind him are linebacker Blake Stone and defensive backs Harrison Beemiller and Dominick Jackson.
The Hardrockers opened the season winning five of their first six games last year before falling in five consecutive games to end the season. Offensively SDM averaged 37.7 points per game last year, but conversely their defense gave up 37.3. They simply try to outscore you. That pattern seems to have carried over into this season. Last week they outgained WJC 460-421 yards. The Trailblazers took a big leap forward last year. They won games they were not expected to win, one against ranked Colorado Mesa. But it is arguable that they also lost games they should have won, most notable was their loss against South Dakota last year. While the Hardrockers did outperform expectations last year, it was not to the extent that DSU did. Was last week’s opening loss an anomaly? Or do this year’s Trailblazers need some major fixes quickly? Those were the questions that Dixie State fans had last week.
STGNEWS.COM PREDICTION: Don’t make me look bad Blazers – DSU bounces back and wins on the road, 35-27.
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