Today’s matchup: Dixie State at Chadron State

Dixie State University (2-3) at Chadron State University (1-4), 1 p.m., at Don Beebe Stadium in Chadron, Nebraska
Previous Meeting: These teams have never met.
Overall Series Record: First meeting
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM

blazerDHead coach: Shay McClure (1st year, 0-0, 0-0 overall)
Offense: Pro Set, Multiple
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Beat Western State Colorado University 28-20 last week at home
Players to watch: So Blake Barney was a pleasant surprise last week. Not because of his play, but because he was able to play. He did not put up spectacular numbers, but he led his team to the win. DeJon Coleman is a threat every time he gets the ball. Orlando Wallace has seen fewer touches over the last couple of weeks. They have lined him at the slot. Hopefully he can get some targets in open space. Aub Reed is a playmaker. He caught four of five targets last week. And the fifth he prevented a sure interception. The offensive line is supposedly patchwork. They gelled last week. The defense is stacked from top to bottom. Remington Kelly’s sack, strip and recovery was the defensive play of the game. Colton Olson, Peter Brown and Shiloh Pritchard must eat nails for their pregame meals. They punish you for carrying the ball. I can’t think of a defensive play last week that did not have Garret Hutnick making the tackle or being in the vicinity.

chadron-state-college-logoHead Coach: Jay Long (1-3, 31-18 overall)
Last Game: Lost to Humboldt State 31-27 at home last week.
Players to watch: Redshirt sophomore TD Stein and junior Matt Vinson have split time at quarterback through the first five games of the season. Stein completed 20-of-38 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns before Vinson took over in week three, completing 84-of-150 passes for 840 yards and five touchdowns. Receiver Matt Gray is tied for first in the RMAC in receptions per game, averaging 7.2 catches per game for 310 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Linebacker Courtland Joshua leads the defensive attack with a team-high 37 tackles, while defensive lineman Collin Eisenman has recorded 33 tackles and linebacker Keenan Johnson sits at 30 tackles on the season.

Chadron State has two famous NFL alums — Don Beebe and Danny Woodhead. The Eagles are off to their worst start in Coach Long’s era. One of the elite teams in the RMAC from 2012-14, Chadron took a step back last year to finish 5-6. This year they have started 1-4. Chadron State averages 365 yards (215.6 pass, 149.4 rush) per game on offense. The Eagles allow 383.6 yards per game defensively, but lead the RMAC in pass defense, allowing just 180.2 yards per game through the air. The only common foe between the two teams is Western State. The Eagles lost to WSCU at home while Dixie State beat them at home last week. Blake Barney brings another dimension to the offense. I think that Chadron is better than its 1-4 record. But Dixie State is also better than its 2-3 record.

STGNews Prediction: Dixie State 24, Chadron State 14

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