Today’s matchup: Dixie State hits the road for last time at CSU-Pueblo

Dixie State University (5-3 in RMAC, 5-4 overall) at Colorado State University-Pueblo (6-2 in RMAC, 6-3 overall) today, 2 p.m., Thunderbowl, Pueblo, Colo.
Previous Meeting: These teams have never met.
Overall Series Record: First meeting between the teams
Broadcast: (Audio) ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM; Southern Utah Live; (Video-Pueblo Stretch Internet//

blazerDHead coach: Shay McClure (1st year, 5-4)
Offense: Pro Set
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Beat Adams State last week 24-21 on the road (October 29, 2016)
Players to watch: Quarterback Josh Thompson may not be shattering records but he is directing the offense and has been limiting mistakes. Right now that is all the coaches have asked of him. DeJon Coleman is coming off a school record 206-yard performance. He set two career rushing records last week. Clifford Simms can break a few of Coleman’s season rushing records with good performances in the last two games. When Aub Reed gets targets good things happen. He leads the team in receptions. Justin Martin is dangerous in the return game and is fun to watch. The offensive line will have to play against a smaller and faster D line than they are used to. The Defense will be key today. Colton Olson will have to sit the first half. The league upheld a targeting call last week that looked suspect on the replay and even had Adams State announcers questioning the call. Hopefully he comes out in the second half with a vengeance. He leads the team in tackles (61). Right behind him are linebackers Peter Brown and Shiloh Pritchard. Linebacker Keanu Foki leads the team in sacks (5.5). Jaylen Moore has been awesome the past few weeks. He is one of the team leaders in tackles and has an INT this year. Tyneil Cooper returns after sitting out two weeks with a knee injury. Remington Kelly and Dane Griffin both had a great game last week against Adams State.

thunderwolfHead Coach: John Wristen (8th year at CSUP, 86-21, overall 86-21)
Offense: Various with slant towards run and play action pass
Defense: 3-4 with multiple stunting
Last Game: Beat Western State 10-7 on the road last week (October 29, 2016)
Players to watch: Quarterback Rex Dausin ranks seventh in the RMAC in passing, completing 128-of-202 passes for 1,551 yards and 13 touchdowns to go with five interceptions. Receiver Osha Washington is Dausin’s favorite target, logging 31 catches for 443 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Brandon Payer leads the defensive attack and ranks fifth in the RMAC with 78 tackles to go with one interception. Linebacker Ryan Merrill has also eclipsed the 60-tackle mark on the season, with 62 tackles and three sacks. Defensive back Emery Taylor leads the secondary with 19 tackles and three interceptions.

CSU-Pueblo likes to run the ball and then throw play-action to keep you honest. Their star running back is hurt and has been out for a few games. (Bernard McDondle averaged 9 yards per carry and 151 yards rushing per game before going down with injury five weeks ago). They have also switched out their quarterback after game two. On defense they are undersized but very fast. They stunt often and get to the ball quickly. Their secondary is not that strong and passing teams have taken advantage of that. We run the ball and right now don’t have that dimension of passing the ball as well as we want. This game will be force against force. CSUP is the best team I have seen on film this year. They are very-well coached and are always at or near the top of the RMAC. It will be fun to watch.

This game pits the team that likes to run the ball against the team that doesn’t let anybody run the ball. Something has got to give. DSU averages 230 yards per game rushing. CSUP only allows 77 yards rushing per game. Conversely, they give up over 240 yards in the air. Offensively the Thunderwolvers have a balanced attack averaging 207 yards rushing and 196 yards through the air. Both teams average just over 400 yards per game with DSU holding the slight edge (407-403). Coach McClure would love to see a defensive game like CSUP’s last outing (a 10-7 win over Western). I love that DSU has broken many barriers this season and I think it is only the start of good things to come.

STGNews Prediction: CSUP 40, DSU 21

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