September 15, 2008

Football Ready For Home Opener

Complete Game Notes

Game #2 Information
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Kickoff: 1:35 p.m.
Location: Greeley, Colo.
Stadium: Nottingham Field
Capacity: 8,500
Series: NC, 1-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 16, 2006, W 14-13
Game Day Sponsor: Pizza Hut

Radio: Northern Colorado Radio Network
Greeley: 1310 KFKA
Troy Coverdale, play-by-play
Anders Nelson, color analyst
TV: NA

Storyline
This will be just the second meeting between Texas State and Northern Colorado... The Bears defeated the Bobcats in San Marcos, 14-13 in 2006... In the second quarter the Bears’ blocked a punt which Matt West picked up and ran in five yards for what ended up being the game-winning touchdown... Northern Colorado is 3-2 all-time against teams currently in the Southland Conference, with 1-1 records against both Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana.

The Matchup
Northern Colorado will be playing its 2008 home opener against Texas State, which is 1-1 on the season. Both teams are coming off bye weeks after the Bobcats defeated Angelo State 21-14 in the opener and fell 47-36 at SMU. The Bears opened the 2008 season with a 42-10 loss at Purdue where NC dominated the time of possession, 37:20 to 22:40.

Home Openers
The Bears began playing at their current home, Nottingham Field in 1995, and are 9-4 in season openers. All-time, NC is 49-33-4 in home openers since Jackson Field (current home of Bears’ soccer) opened in 1926. Northern Colorado is looking to snap a two-game losing streak in home openers as the Bears dropped the 2006 first home game to UC Davis (38-7) and last year to Chadron State (31-0)

The Lone Connector
Northern Colorado offensive coordinator Dennis Darnell spent four seasons at the University of New Mexico at the same time as Texas State defensive coordinator Fred Bleil from 1992-95. The pair were also on the same staff at Utah State in 1991.

Offensive Firepower
Northern Colorado tallied 338 yards of total offense in the season opener at Purdue. Only twice in 12 games last season did the Bears amass more than that total, gaining 380 yards at Cal Poly and 416 against Sacramento State. NC also tallied more first downs than Purdue, notching 22 compared to 17 for the Boilermakers.

Nines Are Wild
Senior tight end Ryan Chesla, who wears jersey number nine, caught nine passes for a career-best 99 yards in the opener against Purdue. With just one more yard, he would have become the first player since Nov. 11, 2006 to record 100 or more receiving yards in a game when Robert Long tallied 106 against Montana. He also would have been the first player since Oct. 16, 2004 to catch 10 or more passes in a game with one more. The last to do so was Vincent Jackson, who is a key receiver for the San Diego Chargers, who did so against Florida Atlantic.

Notes From Purdue Game
• Sophomore quarterback James Schrenk got his first action under center for the Bears. He did not attempt any passes, but handed the ball off six times and carried the ball once for a gain of eight.
• Junior transfers Tony Kolone, Alex Thompson, Bryan Waggener and Logan Zabel all played in their first games in a Bears uniform, as did redshirts Lee Barbiasz, Lamont Bryant, Dominique Ceja, Anthony Harrison, Cameron Kaman, Jamathan Lyle, Tim McGraw, Chuks Nweke, Alex Shapiro and true freshmen Andrew Downing, Dominic Gunn, Nick Hernon, VJ Holmes and Patrick Walker. A total of 18 of the 55 (33%) who saw action for the Bears were doing so for the first time.
• Purdue’s blocked punt for a touchdown was the first time since 2004 against Idaho State an opponent has blocked one and returned it for a TD in the same play.
• True freshman Nick Hernon recorded a sack in his first game for Northern Colorado. The last time a true freshman recorded a sack was Oct. 7, 2006, when John Eddy notched one against Idaho State.
• Northern Colorado tallied 22 first downs compared to just 17 for Purdue. The Bears also out-rushed the Boilermakers, 122-116. The last time NC had more rushing yards than the opponent came in last season’s opener at Hawai’i, 50-37.
• The Bears dominated time of possession, 37:20 to 22:40 in the game and ran 25 more plays than the Boilermakers.

Making The Most
Junior quarterback Bryan Waggener hit eight different receivers in his first game as a Bear, gaining 216 yards through the air for the blue and gold. Five times last season at least eight receivers caught one or more passes in a game.

Big Sky Preseason Honors
In the Big Sky Conference preseason football all-conference team released at the annual preseason kickoff in Park City, Utah, two Northern Colorado seniors were tabbed to the team in tight end Ryan Chesla and linebacker Cristian Sarmento. The team was selected by a panel of media members in the league.
Chesla was named to the 2007 Big Sky All-Conference First Team, becoming the first-ever pick for the Bears. He led the team with 40.4 reception yards per game, gaining 444 yards on 37 catches and four touchdowns, missing the final game of the season due to injury.
Sarmento was a second-team pick at the conclusion of the 2007 season, finishing the year ranked second in the Big Sky Conference with 135 tackles in 11 games, as he also missed the season finale with an injury.

Phil Steele Predicts...
In the Phil Steele’s football 2008 preview, four Bears were tabbed on the Preseason Big Sky Teams. Senior tight end Ryan Chesla was named to the first team offense, while junior defensive end John Eddy, senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento and sophomore defensive back Quincy Wofford were all named to the second team defense.

Oh Captain, My Captain
At the conclusion of the spring practices, the team voted and named senior offensive lineman Jacob Thornbrue and senior linebackers Joe Kenney and Cristian Sarmento as captains for the 2008 team. This is the second year in a row Kenney has served as a captain and the first season for the other two.

Records In Sight
Senior Eric Brown currently has 538 kickoff return yards after a stellar junior season on the return team. He needs 16 yards to tie for 10th on the Northern Colorado career charts and 17 to tie for ninth. The record for kickoff return yards is 1,262 yards by Johnny Watkines (1981-84).
Senior linebacker Cristian Sarmento sits at 238 tackles after three years with the Bears, needing just 54 to tie Mike Horton (1979-80) and Vaughn Lechman (1984-87) for 10th on the career charts. The record for tackles is 505 by Bob Knapton (1978-81).
Junior cornerback Quincy Wofford is currently tied for eighth on the record list with two blocked kicks. One more will move him into a tie for fifth. The school record is 15 blocks by Tim Bowie (1992-95).

Van Portfliet On AFCA Good Works List
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team list of nominations was recently released and sophomore safety Michael VanPortfliet made the cut. VanPortfliet is extremely involved in community service and over spring break last season went through a bone marrow donation.

Coors Light Coaches Show
Beginning Sept. 3, join head coach Scott Downing and “Voice of the Bears” Troy Coverdale at Cables Pub & Grill (1923 59th Avenue, Greeley) at 6:00 p.m. for the Coors Light Northern Colorado Coaches Show on 1310 KFKA. Coach will cover the upcoming week as well as break down the previous week and take questions from fans in the audience.

Watch The Big Sky
All home and conference games will be featured again this year on BigSkyTV.org, a website that streams video and audio for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball. All games taking place in a Big Sky venue will be available. This year’s subscription is free to Big Sky TV for live events, however, there will be a charge for events on demand.