Today’s Matchup: Dixie State hosts Western State Mountaineers

GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Western State, Colo. (3-1) at Dixie State University (1-3), 1 p.m., at Legend Solar Stadium
Previous Meeting: These teams have never met.
Overall Series Record: First meeting
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM

TRAILBLAZERS
blazerDHead coach: Shay McClure (1st year, 1-3, 1-3 overall)
Offense: Pro Set, Multiple
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Lost to Central Washington 40-18 on the road
Players to watch: Last week the offense struggled with quarterback Josh Thompson playing less than 100 percent. Orlando Wallace and Clifford Sims played well. DeJon Coleman was not as involved last week but should see more carries today. Aubrey Reed has emerged as the biggest threat in the receiving corps. Defensively DB Colton Olson and LBs Peter Brown and Shiloh Pritchard lead the way. The defensive line has been solid and will need to have a monster game against the Mountaineers’ vaunted rushing attack.

MOUNTAINEERS
westernstateHead Coach: Jas Bains (6th year at WSCU, 3-1, 15-44 overall)
Offense: Multiple
Defense: Base 3-3-5
Last Game: Beat #23-nationally ranked Colorado Mines 45-31 last week at home
Players to watch: Under Coach Bains this is the best that the Mountaineers have started. In the last six years they have never won more than four games but are sure to surpass that this year with a 3-1 start. Offensively they run several different formations and were in the top 15 in several categories nationally last year. They led the RMAC in rushing with an average of 297 yards per game. Running back Austin Ekeler averages 208 yards rushing. Defensively they allow 383 yards. Twin brothers Carter and Cade Wasser lead the defense with 33 tackles apiece.

COACH MCCLURE’S PERSPECTIVE
“Western State has had a good start. They run the ball well. Their run-pass ration is 60-40. We need to limit what they want to do with the run and force them to throw the ball. They like to throw a lot of different formations at you. Defensively they run a 3-3-5 and are all over the field. On our side of the ball we have had some players go down and it will still be 1-2 weeks before we see any of them return to action. Several of our underclassmen are seeing expanded playing opportunities.”

GAME OUTLOOK
Last year the Mountaineers finished sixth in the conference. But with several players returning they were picked fourth in the RMAC preseason poll. They will run as often as possible and usually only pass when there is a need. This year the Dixie State defense has been far more consistent than the offense. DSU is back home. Hopefully the friendly confines will help.

STGNews prediction: WSCU 28, DSU 17

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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