GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Azusa Pacific University at Dixie State University, today, 6 p.m. MST, Hansen Stadium
Previous Meeting: Cougars 23, Red Storm 20 (Nov 9, 2013-Cougars outscore Storm 20-7 in 2nd half and win on FG with no time remaining)
Overall Series Record: Cougars lead head-to-head series 6-3
Broadcast: (Audio) ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM; Southern Utah Live; (Video) Southern Utah Live
Head coach: Scott Brumfield (5th year, 10-36 overall)
Offense: Pro Set
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Lost to Humboldt State University 50-3
Players to watch: Sophomore quarterback Hayden Gavett has had two subpar performances since his opening game as Dixie’s starter. Though Coach Brumfield cited several breakdowns that affect offensive performance (i.e. coaching, blocking, routes, reads, etc.), people usually only take notice when the quarterback is replaced. That has happened with Gavett twice. RB Colton Peterson is injured and will not be available. Myles Burton will get the start. RB Joel Davis had a touchdown against the Cougars last year on a screen pass. The offensive line is led by preseason all-conference Nyles Amelita. On defense, the Red Storm are led in tackles by safety Aeryus Holloway (22) and linebacker Garland Munns (20). Defensive lineman Jake Miller leads the team in sacks (2), quarterback hurries (4) and tackles for loss (6). Cornerback Jacob Witham leads the team in interceptions (2).
Head Coach: Victor Santa Cruz (9th year, 45-45)
Last Game: Beat Simon Fraser University 32-24
Players to watch: The Cougars return five all-conference performers from last years GNAC champions, including GNAC leading rusher Terrell Watson and GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, free safety Tyler Thornton. Watson has gained 467 yards this year on 90 carries. APU is quarterbacked by San Diego State transfer Chad Jeffries who has thrown for 302 yards and 3 TDs. He is the second-leading rusher for the team at 180 yards. Wide receiver Tanner Henry is his favorite target with 115 yards receiving on 10 catches. On defense in addition to Thornton, all conference defensive lineman Talaiasi Taueli returns. The Cougars are led in tackles by linebacker Erik Manning (26) and strong safety Taliuaki Suliafu (20). For special teams two all-conference performers, kick returner Tarik Myles and kicker Jamie Cacciatore, also return.
There are several question marks this week for the Red Storm. Who will start at quarterback? Can the offense get back on track? Can the Storm win the turnover battle? Can the defense chalk up three and outs at the rate they did against Colorado Mesa? Turnovers killed Dixie again last week against Humboldt State. They not only gave the ‘Jacks great field position but put the Storm defense on the field nearly 38 minutes. Last year Watson had a field day at Hansen Stadium, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. The defense contained him better later in the year. If they can contain him again, APU’s passing game has not been near as effective this year.
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