San Diego Toreros (0-0) vs. Western New Mexico Mustangs (0-0)
Saturday, September 6, 2014 6:00 p.m. PST
Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium
Second-year head coach Dale Lindsey and the University of San Diego Toreros will kickoff the 2014 home schedule against the Western New Mexico Mustangs for the fourth consecutive year. While the Toreros own a 3-0 lead in the series, the margin of victory has decreased each game.
The Mustangs are led by West Hills High alum Adam Clark, who enters his fifth season as head coach. He returns 12 key contributors from last season's 4-6 campaign, and has 50 players on the roster from California, including 22 from the San Diego County area.
Sept. 10, 2011 - USD 30, WNM 10
Sept. 8, 2012 - USD 34, WNM 27
Sept. 7, 2013 - USD 38, WNM 35
Toreros Offense vs. Mustangs Defense
The USD offense has seven returning starters plus sophomore Keith Williams, who beat out redshirt junior Trey Wheeler in a close battle to succeed Mason Mills as the starting quarterback. While Williams appeared in six games last season, this will be the first start of his colligate career.
The Torero receiving corps will feature a senior-laden group that includes Reggie Bell (65 catches & 1,050 yards), Brandon White (12 TD catches), and Eastlake alum D'Angelo Barksdale. Redshirt freshman Ross Dwelley will take over as the starting tight end.
With injuries continuing to halt the promising career of Dallas Kessman, Cal transfer Jonah Hodges will get the nod as the primary halfback.
Returning to the line are redshirt juniors Jeff Starr (RG) and Luke Meyer (RT). They'll be assisted by Steven Oliver (Center), and redshirt freshmen Spencer Seeley (LT) and Stephen Hutchinson (LG).
Leading the Mustangs' defensive unit will be senior defensive end Zachary Dembrowski (52 tackles, 3 sacks) and senior defensive back Deshawn Hathorn (33 tackles, 3 INTs). They'll be joined by senior linebackers Kristian King and Cody Hawkins, along with Morse High product Alfonso Wilson in the secondary.
Toreros Defense vs. Mustangs Offense
The Torero defense took a big hit with the loss of defensive ends Steve Gargiulo and Blake Oliaro, who combined for 16 sacks last season. Redshirt juniors Joe Nomellini and Josh Williams will attempt to fill those shoes, while redshirt junior Brandon Pulealii (DT) and senior Bennie Harris (NT) clog up the middle of the line.
With senior team captain Troy McClelland starting at nickel back (LB/Safety), Wake Forest transfer Joe LaBarbara will take over the strong safety position that was held down by Robbie Beathard. Senior Matt Miller, who led the team with 90 total tackles last season, returns to quarterback the defense at free safety.
After the departure of five seniors, the cornerback position got off to a slow start last season. Sparked by a breakout performance from freshman Jamal Agnew, the USD pass coverage saw a dramatic improvement towards the end of the season.
While Agnew's sophomore campaign could be put on hold due to injuries suffered during the offseason, seniors Toney Sawyer and Yogi Hale, along with sophomore Devyn Bryant, will be looking to contain the Mustang passing attack.
Junior quarterback Mitch Glasmann, who threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns against USD last season, returns along with his top receiver Donald Byrd. Carlsbad High alum Michael Poe will anchor the Mustang offensive line.
San Diego Football Saturday
San Diego State at North Carolina, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNews)
San Diego Mesa vs. Los Angeles Valley, 6:00 p.m.
Southwestern vs. Grossmont, 6:00 p.m.
Palomar vs. Citrus, 6:00 p.m.
#8 Ramona at Point Loma, 3:00 p.m.
#5 Cathedral Catholic vs. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA) at Oceanside High, 4:00 p.m.
North County Cobras at California Tide, 7:00 p.m.
San Diego Thunder at Downey Apaches, 7:00 p.m.
Southeast Pirates vs. Valley Predators at Lincoln High, 7:00 p.m.