For those studying such things in order to prepare for Cal State Northridge’s move to Division I athletics in 1990, Matador fans do, indeed, constitute a typical Southern California crowd.
When the going gets tough, they get going.
After watching Cal Poly San Luis Obispo manhandle the fifth-ranked Matadors for 3 quarters Saturday night, many in the crowd of 5,925 began heading for the North Campus Stadium exits or the makeshift beer garden well before game’s end.
Perhaps they had a premonition that things were going to get worse.
When it was over, Northridge’s ranking, its unbeaten record and its pride had suffered a serious pounding--38-7 to be exact.
Suffice it to say that this was not what players and coaches had in mind earlier in the season when they spoke of Matador Defense. Against the Mustangs, it was “Matador,” all right--as in Ole!
The Mustangs had 358 total yards and rushed for 5 touchdowns against a defense that had not allowed a score on the ground in its previous 4 games.
Northridge (4-1), playing its Western Football Conference opener, gained 257 yards--98 after trailing 38-0.
That Matadors came in averaging 210 yards rushing a game. They had 64 against the Mustangs.
Coach Bob Burt summed it up in two words.
“We stunk,” he said.
Indeed, the last time the Matadors were so bad was the final game of the 1984 season--Tom Keele’s last as coach. Portland State defeated CSUN, 61-24, on an icy field in Oregon that day.
Burt’s mood afterward was only slightly less frigid.
“That’s the worst football exhibition we’ve given in three years here,” Burt said. “It will never happen again.”
There were several firsts--none of them positive--for CSUN.
Not only did the Matadors finally give up a rushing touchdown, they also let a tailback gain more than 100 yards. In fact, they doubled their displeasure.
Cornell Williams had 102 yards and a touchdown in 11 carries and Todd Henderson had 101 and 2 scores in 27 carries.
San Luis Obispo improved to 2-2 and evened its conference record at 1-1. The Mustangs came in unranked--and probably still won’t be. Bet that CSUN will not be listed, either.
“Maybe this is better for us in the long run,” said quarterback Rob Huffman, who completed 9 of 19 passes for 129 yards with an interception. “I think we took for granted that we’d show up and they’d just go down.”
San Luis Obispo held a 14-0 advantage going into the fourth quarter, then blew the game open.
A 22-yard field goal by Dan Eastman on the second play of the final period gave the Mustangs a 17-0 advantage. The points were scored after Tom Carey recovered a Huffman fumble at the CSUN 25.
Terrill Brown came up with turnovers for San Luis Obispo on Northridge’s next 2 possessions.
First, he picked off a Huffman pass intended for Robert Guillen and returned it to the CSUN 32. Henderson scored from 11 yards out 2 plays later.
On the Matadors’ next play from scrimmage, Sherdrick Bonner, subbing for Huffman, fumbled and Brown recovered at the CSUN 9.
After an incomplete pass, Williams took it in to make it 31-0 with 12:20 left.
Another Northridge turnover--the Matadors had 4--set up the Mustangs’ final touchdown.
San Luis Obispo’s 24 fourth-quarter points came on drives that consumed less than 3 minutes.
CSUN’s only score came with 5:14 remaining on a 10-yard pass from Bonner to Bryan Kellen.
Albert Fann, averaging 113.5 yards rushing a game for the Matadors, had 57 yards in 23 carries.