Pregame capsule: Blazers are back as DSU opens season tonight

File photo, Dixie State University vs. Western State Colorado University, Football , St. George, Utah, Oct. 1, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News


Dixie State University (0-0) at New Mexico Highlands University (0-0), West Las Vegas High School, Las Vegas, N.M.,  today, 5 p.m.
Previous Meeting: Dixie State opened up its 2016 season with a 21-14 win over the Cowboys. Sei J Lauago carried the ball for 48 yards on the game-winning drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Orlando Wallace.
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM, live stream on DSU portal

Head coach: Shay McClure (2nd year, 0-0, 6-5 overall)
Offense: Pro Set, Multiple
Defense: Pro 4-3
Last Game: Ended 2016 campaign on winning note with 16-14 win over Fort Lewis at home (Nov. 12, 2016)
Players to watch: Malik Watson will get the starting nod at quarterback. At running back, Sei J Lauago and Jeffrey “Juju” Coprich will get the most carries. Orlando Wallace and Blake Barney are likely to see action both running and receiving the ball. Watson has an array of receivers that will be in the mix including DeJuan Dantzler and Brad Duran. The offensive line is anchored by preseason All-RMAC selection Tim Ah-Hee and Braden Peterson. Defensively, cornerbacks Tyneil Cooper (preseason All-RMAC) and Jaylen Moore highlight the backfield. Shiloh Pritchard was a force at the linebacking position last year. Remington Kelly and Donovan Williams are forces on the defensive line.

Head Coach: Marty Fine (1st year at NMHU, 0-0, 90-72 overall)
Offense: Multiple Pro Style
Defense: unknown
Last Game: Lost to Adams State 50-40 at home (Nov. 12, 2016)
Players to watch: Danny Cameron, the son of Cam Cameron, was signed on at NMHU and will likely be the starting quarterback. Davonte Lynch is the leading returning rusher. Last year he gained 777 yards at 5.1 ypc. Defensively the Cowboys were lead by FS Jimmy Threat (78 tackles), OLB Sam Garcia (62 tackles) and ILB Jeremiah Meyers (48 tackles).

“We are not quite sure what to expect. They signed several talented players, but their arrival was after spring. They did not have much time to put together their offensive and defensive schemes. I am not sure if we are going to see a “meat and potatoes” package or if they are going to be able to add to it. The offensive coordinator is a proponent of the “Tony Franklin Cal” system of football. Defensively we are not sure what they are going to do. We are leaning one way in preparation but are prepared for other schemes if they go another direction.”

It will be a contrast of styles if NMHU’s new head coach continues the coaching style he utilized at Bryant University, where he was at the helm the last 13 years. His offenses there had a disparate balance of 3-1 in passing yardage vs. running yardage. While Dixie State and McClure run the ball to set up the pass. Much of NMHU’s game plan may depend on the program that Fine inherited and whether he has the personnel to implement his offense. The Cowboys were winless last year, but were competitive in several games including the opener against DSU. Even so, the Cowboys were at or near the bottom in nearly every statistical category last year. The game will be played at West Las Vegas High School due to continued construction on the new Cowboy Nation Football Field.

STGNews Prediction: DSU starts out season with win, 24-10.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

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