Forget the score, a 30-7 loss.
The most insightful statistic to be gleaned from Cal State Northridge’s foray Saturday into the Kibbie Dome against sixth-ranked Division I-AA Idaho is time of possession.
The Northridge defense was on the field 35 minutes 31 seconds, not counting numerous special-teams assignments.
The Matador offense couldn’t maintain possession long enough to give its hard-working defense a break, much less move the ball. The offense crossed the 50-yard line only twice--and not until the last 17 minutes.
“I feel terrible,” Northridge offensive lineman John Chase said softly. “They’re (the defense) always out there on the field. We should be able to do more to sustain a drive.”
The Matadors (2-3) were held to 41 yards in 33 carries. Tailback Jamal Farmer, who tested his surgically repaired knee for the first time in a game, managed 14 yards in 10 carries.
Quarterback Marty Fisher completed 12 of 26 passes for 169 yards and threw one interception.
Coach Bob Burt was pleased with Fisher’s performance in light of the pressure applied by the Vandals’ front. But eight of Fisher’s passes were sufficiently errant that they could not have been caught.
The senior described his play as “sputtering.”
“We did all right,” Fisher said. “At the end, that big drive was a confidence-builder.”
The 19-play, 82-yard march, capped by Jess Garner’s two-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds to play, prevented the Matadors from being shut out for the second consecutive game.
Saadite Green had three receptions on the final drive--five for 103 yards in the late stages of the game.
Green’s 46-yard reception (longest by a Matador this season) gave Northridge the ball at the Idaho 19 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
On the ensuing play, Farmer was stopped for no gain and Northridge was assessed 15 yards because of a personal foul by tight end Chris Fregeau.
Earlier, defensive lineman Mike Zorn was whistled for a personal foul that gave Idaho (4-0) the ball at the Northridge eight. The Vandals scored two plays later on a four-yard run by Sherriden May for a 20-0 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
“I don’t like our guys doing that kinda stuff,” said Burt, who benched both players after their respective penalties.
The foul by Fregeau sent Northridge to the Idaho 35 and the possession ended in the same way as 10 others--with Albert Razo punting.
“We got beat by a good team,” Burt said. “Defensively, we played about as well as we could. Not offensively, but a lot of credit for that goes to (Idaho).”
During pregame warm-up sessions, Idaho’s linemen and linebackers ran through a Northridge drill and a scuffle ensued. “It was a no-respect type of thing,” John Chase said. “You just don’t do those kinds of things.” Idaho wide receiver Curtis Richardson said: “That’s something we do every game to try to intimidate the other team. They were the first team to react. I thought they would because they’re from L.A.” Richardson, formerly of Oxnard High and Ventura College, added: “Before the game, coach told us not to do it because we got a letter from the Big Sky (Conference) about it.” . . . Safety Eric Treibatch made two solo tackles to become the school’s all-time leader with 119. Linebacker Jose Aguilar led the Matadors in total tackles with 11. . . . Linebacker Bryan Ward intercepted one pass and deflected two.