GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Dixie State University (0-3, 0-2) at Humboldt State University (0-3, 0-2), 6 p.m. (MST), Redwood Bowl, Arcata, Calif.
Previous Meeting: Humboldt State 57, Dixie State 18 (GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, Humboldt State Running Back Nick Ricciardulli ran for 206 yards to sweep the season series 2-0 last year)
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM
Head Coach: Scott Brumfeld (4th year, 6-29 overall)
Offense: Pistol, Pro Set
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Lost to Western Oregon 51-32
Players to watch: Dixie again faces a team looking for its first win of the year. The Lumberjacks have shown vulnerability against the pass, giving up over 700 yards in their first two games. Their opponents are also averaging more than 250 yards on the ground and over five yards per carry. This could be an excellent opportunity for quarterback Griff Robles to have a big game. All-American tight end Joe Don Duncan and wide receiver Mitch Frei should also benefit. Look for running back Joel Davis to have a breakout game. On the defensive end, the onus of responsibility will fall again to the front seven. If HSU’s running backs are at full strength, Jake Duncan and Nick Largent will have to plug those holes before they can gather momentum.
Head Coach: Rob Smith (23rd year, 139-87-1)
Last Game: Lost to Azusa Pacific, 28-2
Players to watch: In the first game this season, HSU lost their top two running backs, Nick Ricciardulli and Daniel Wyatt. They accounted for 301 yards rushing and five touchdowns the last time these two teams met. HSU coach Smith has had to alter his game plan substantially, relying heavily on quarterback Kyle Morris and the passing game. The Lumberjacks have started 0-3 (0-2), a first for Smith and not what was expected of the preseason conference favorites. Ricciardulli returned to limited action last week. Wyatt practiced for the first time since his injury this week. If they are in top form, Dixie’s defense will have to account for them instead of keying on the passing attack.
Both teams are looking for their first win of the year. They have one common opponent, Azusa Pacific, who blasted both teams with their running back, Terrell Watson. Dixie State has lost their last six games against HSU. As woeful as the HSU offense has looked without its top two running backs, its defense has just not been able to shut down opposing teams’ passing nor rushing. HSU may solve their offensive troubles with Ricciardulli and possibly Wyatt returning. But major renovations have to be made to fix the defense. If Robles and the offense can stay error-free and sustain long drives, keeping the HSU offense off of the field, then the Red Storm will come away with their first win.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.