Red Dogs on road to Wyoming

04/26/03 Loyal Dog

The Rapid City Red Dogs take to the road  this week in hopes of keeping their 4 game win streak alive against the Wyoming Cavalry.  Wyoming has not beat the Red Dogs since the first regular season game of 2001.  Both teams are very alive in the playoff race, and are both contenders at this point to unseat the Utah Warriors from first place in the Pacific West division.  Sioux Falls will be looking to help this week as well, as they will play in Utah.  Wyoming and Rapid City are both coming off of back to back wins vs. divisional opponents,  while Utah and Sioux Falls both suffered defeat last weekend.  Rapid City leads divisional wins at 4-0, Utah being second with 2-1, and both Wyoming and the Storm are a half game behind Utah with 2-2 records.

Both game are of great importance in this division, as it is always a dog fight to take and hold the lead in this division.  Any one of these four teams are likely contenders for the Pacific Conference crown,  with only Sioux City and Omaha from the Pacific North standing in the way at this point.  However, the season is less than half over at this point for most teams as they have all had at least one bye week by this point.  Next week is the Red Dogs first bye after a seven game haul, and going into a rest with a 5-2 record would certainly be much better than sitting around at 4-3 for two weeks.  Rapid City could just as easily have been  3-3 after a close game with Utah this past weekend, but the Red Dogs came from behind to start the second half with three unanswered scores and a late field goal to win by 6 points.  The defense stepped up big for Rapid City after the half with two goal line stances and again with 9 seconds left with an interception in the end zone.

Wyoming has improved their defense since the 81-60 romp the Red Dogs threw their way in week 1.  Their offense remains as potent as ever, as Matt Strand has lit up defenses ever week, win or lose.  The Red Dogs have also improved their defense, as was displayed last week.  Rapid City’s offense has the advantage in this game, with former NIFL Most Valuable Player Terrance Bryant returning to Wyoming for the first time since  June 30th, 2001.  Also returning is WR Mario Patton, who took to the field for the retired Brian Mills just two games ago.  Patton has made several key plays since his return despite having  caught only 5 balls for 34 yards, which puts him at an average of 17 yards per game. 

I thought this week we would do a “tale of the tape” so to speak comparing the best with the best from each team, position for position.

Team Rapid City Wyoming
Quarterbacks Terrance Bryant Matt Strand
Pass Rating 108.41 101.69
Passing Yards/Att/Com/Int 1093-169-110-3 847-121-69-5
Passing TD’s 16 21
Rushing Yards/Attempts 129-37 194-41
Rushing TD’s 4 4
Running Backs Verna Owens Anthony Simmons
Attempts/Yards 227-66 142-36
Average Yards Per Game 37.8 28.4
Rushing TD’s 8 2
Wide Receivers Ryan Speed Chris Swift
Passes Caught/Yards 422-42 268-22
Average Per Game 70.3 53.6
TD’s Caught 6 8
Kickers Aaron Turner Trey Ransom
Field Goals 8-11 2-13
% 73% 15%
PAT’s 14-14 18-26
% 100% 69%
Defensive Leaders Almones Boyles Greg Ortberg
Tackles 33 31
Sacks 1 0
Fumbles Forced/Recovered 1-0 0-0
Interceptions 0 6
Defensive Leaders (2) Rickie Davis Bear Barley
Tackles 19.5 22.5
Sacks 0 0
Fumbles Forced/Recovered 0-1 0-0
Interceptions 2 0

Take from it what you will, as you can never tell who is going to win any given game by comparing records, stats, or players, but simply by playing the game.  This looks to be a great match-up, and I hold firm to my biased opinion that the Red Dogs have the Cavalry’s number.  Sunday will tell the tale, however, and I look forward to another great game of NIFL action.

A final thought:  GO RED DOGS!!!!

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