EASTERN WASHINGTON (0-2) vs. CS NORTHRIDGE (1-1)
At North Campus Stadium, 3:05 p.m.
Eastern Washington, the defending Big Sky Conference champion, is not acting the role. The Eagles lost to Idaho and Portland State, then used a bye last week to, as Coach Mike Kramer put it, “get our psyche soothed.” Eastern Washington hasn’t started 0-3 since 1983 under Coach Dick Zornes. That team lost its first five games and won its next five. The Eagles’ longest losing streak under Kramer was five games in 1995, his second season as coach. After leading Division I-AA in offense and the Big Sky in defense last year, Eastern Washington is hovering near the conference bottom in both categories, averaging 322.5 yards per game and allowing 445.5 yards. The Eagles rolled off 2,489 yards rushing in 1997 but have only 199 yards this season, 117 of them by senior Mike MacKenzie, who was expected to blossom into a force. MacKenzie fumbled twice in Portland State territory two weeks ago, a game won by the Vikings, 30-27, in overtime. The Eagle rushing woes are good news for Northridge, which gives up an average of 182 yards per game on the ground, a trend that started last year. In 1996, when Coach Ron Ponciano was the team’s defensive coordinator, the Matadors yielded 106.8 yards rushing per game and ranked 12th in I-AA. The Matadors also face the task of containing Bashir Levingston, who returned punts 62 and 68 yards for touchdowns against Portland State. Northridge’s offense last week clicked in a 41-10 victory at Northern Arizona, with redshirt freshman Marcus Brady passing for 236 yards and three touchdowns. “Our entire focus is stopping Marcus,” Kramer said. Nine receivers caught passes for the Matadors, including senior Mike Ogas, with a game-high eight for 81 yards and one touchdown. Ogas ranks sixth in I-AA with an average of eight receptions per game.
SAN DIEGO (1-2) vs. CAL LUTHERAN (1-2)
At Mt. Clef Stadium, Thousand Oaks, 1 p.m.
Cal Lutheran has lost two straight games that could have turned on successful field goals. Ryan Geisler has missed eight consecutive attempts after making his first of the season, but Coach Scott Squires said he will not replace the sophomore from Camarillo. Generating touchdowns is another problem for the Kingsmen, who have only five. Running backs Dorian Stitt (260 yards, 5.0 average) and Fredrik Nanhed (161, 4.6) continue to split time. The Cal Lutheran defense remained consistent in a 16-13 loss to Whittier in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener last week. The Kingsmen have 10 sacks, three by Jake Salas and two by Daniel Marino. San Diego is coming off a 19-13 loss to Redlands. The Toreros average 120 yards rushing and 199 yards passing. Tailback Oscar Arzu has 283 yards and a 4.7 average. Mike Stadler has completed 45 of 94 passes for 597 yards and six touchdowns with three passes intercepted. Freshman cornerback Brian Luman has four interceptions, two against Redlands. Last season, Cal Lutheran overcame a 32-10 halftime deficit to defeat San Diego, 39-32.
COMPTON (0-1) vs. COLLEGE OF THE CANYONS (1-1)
At College of the Canyons, 7 p.m.
Canyons, playing in its first season since 1981, plans to make the most of its home opener. Ceremonies are planned, but Coach Chuck Lyon doesn’t feel like celebrating. Several players were injured in a loss last week at Antelope Valley, including two of three quarterbacks. Freshman Peter Dirksen from L.A. Baptist High has a sprained knee and sprained ankle. Kevin Carrasco might have broken a bone in his throwing hand by hitting a defender’s helmet. That leaves sophomore Chris Kobe, a transfer from Cal State Northridge who has played sparingly. Defensive tackle Phil Johnson (hand) and tailback George Garcia (knee) also are sidelined this week.
SANTA BARBARA (0-2) vs. MOORPARK (0-1)
At Moorpark College, 7 p.m.
These teams were scheduled to meet in December in the Western State Bowl, but heavy rains turned the field at Santa Barbara into a pond and the game was canceled. The intensity likely won’t be the same for this game, but Moorpark--stunned by an opening loss to Ventura--is in need of a boost. Freshman Carl Richardson was the Raiders’ sole bright spot last week, rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown. Richardson, an all-purpose threat last season, also caught three passes for 33 yards and returned two kickoffs for 42 yards. Santa Barbara’s Danny Nunez has passed for 252 yards and two touchdowns in losses to Southwest and Santa Monica. Matt Tobin has 10 receptions and Edward Townsend has eight. The Vaqueros’ running game ranks last in the Western State Conference, having totaled minus-38 yards.
GLENDALE (1-1) vs. SOUTHWEST (1-1)
At Southwest College, 7 p.m.
Glendale’s strong running attack might be getting stronger. Sophomore Darrell Durham ranks second in the state with 323 rushing yards. Yet, Coach John Cicuto said the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Durham is struggling to shed pounds gained during the off-season. Tight end Brian Gelt (6-3, 225), who played most of last season with a broken wrist, will suit up for the first time this season. Gelt underwent surgery last spring and has been in pads for only two weeks. Quarterback Mike Frost, a freshman from Ayala High, has passed for 517 yards and four touchdowns. Southwest’s offense revolves around running back Marques Hannie and quarterback Hassayn Bailey, both returning starters. Hannie has rushed for 203 yards in two games. Bailey has passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
ANTELOPE VALLEY (1-1) vs. DESERT (0-2)
At College of the Desert, 7 p.m.
Antelope Valley defeated Desert, 28-3, last season and has outscored the Roadrunners, 66-6, in two games. The Marauders, fresh off a 21-14 victory over Canyons, have not won at Desert since a 10-7 victory in 1984. Freshman Monte Gutowski has filled in at quarterback while Justin Holtfreter recovers from a bruised sternum. Gutowski has passed for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Tyree Booker ranks sixth in the Foothill Conference with 141 rushing yards. Desert, which lost to San Bernardino Valley, 27-14, last week, is coached by Steve Dostal, a former player and assistant coach at Antelope Valley. Antelope Valley holds a 13-8-1 series advantage.
PIERCE (0-2) vs. EAST L.A. (0-1)
At East L.A. College, 7 p.m.
A battle between bottom feeders of the WSC. Pierce, which has displayed offensive firepower in two games, won’t have a better chance to end its losing streak, now at 30 games. East L.A. was defeated, 41-12, by Citrus. Brahma quarterback Calvin Zinck, who has passed for 437 yards and three touchdowns, might explode against a porous defense after facing intense rushes in losses to San Diego Mesa and Valley. Zinck’s best targets are Vaughn Corley (14 catches) and Basil Duncantell (12), who rank second and third in the WSC in receptions. Zinck, a transfer from Moorpark, has thrown all of his scoring passes to Bruce Johnson, who has eight receptions. Freshman Donald Carpenter from Sylmar High has rushed for 127 yards in 24 carries.
VENTURA (2-0) vs. L.A. HARBOR (0-1)
At L.A. Harbor College, 7 p.m.
The honeymoon period might be over for Ventura, which plays its first road game after defeating Moorpark, 26-9, last week for the first time in 10 years. Harbor’s passing attack is among the best in the state. Sophomore Jack Hawley completed 25 of 40 for 368 yards in an opening loss to Mt. San Jacinto. Hawley is a returning starter and so are receivers Jason Brennan and Mark Pappas, each with nine catches. Freshman Travis Rogers of Ventura is the state’s leading rusher with 425 yards. But the Pirates’ defense might be more responsible for the fast start. Linebacker DeWayne Jones had eight unassisted tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception against Moorpark. Defensive end Torrance Heggie blocked a punt and also deflected a pass.