Sept. 13, 2013
Dixon, Secondary Ready for UCM Passing AttackGameday Central | Game Notes | Tailgating Policy | Weather Report | Ticket Information | Student Tickets
By David Boyce
The sentiments of Northwest Missouri State senior defensive back Brandon Dixon are most likely similar to his teammates about Saturday’s home game against Central Missouri.
A year ago, the Bearcats lost 31-21 to the Mules in Warrensburg, Mo.
Northwest had won the previous nine meetings against Central Missouri, including regular-season victories in Warrensburg in 2011 and 2010.
“We still have that bad taste in our mouths but we don’t want to think too much about last year,” Dixon said. “We want to think about this year. I don’t like to do too much talking. I like playing on the field.”
The Northwest coaching staff definitely want to see Dixon repeat last week’s performance when the Bearcats take on Central Missouri 6 p.m. Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
In the season opener against Saginaw Valley, Dixon recovered a fumble and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. He also limited All-America receiver Jeff Janis to only three receptions.
“What I did well, I was real physical with him,” Dixon said. “That was the main point. I wanted to be physical with him. We have to be physical with them (Mules). That is my main thing this year is be physical with receivers. I didn’t do that last year.
“If I can be physical with them and get my hands on them like I did last week, hopefully it will work well.”
Dixon played so well last week that he earned MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors. His game-changing play came in the waning minutes of the first half. The Bearcats held a 28-17 lead, but Saginaw Valley was driving for a score.
With just under 20 seconds left, junior corner back Travis Manning stripped the ball and Dixon was there to pick up the ball and race for a touchdown that gave the Bearcats a commanding 35-17 halftime lead.
“It was a great play,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “He was on the scoop and score side. I thought it was the biggest play of the game. I felt the momentum swung there. I’m not sure they really recovered after that.”
Dixon is quick to tell you he is just one of 11 defensive players. He is no more important to the defense success than Manning or his twin brother, Brian Dixon or the defensive line.
“I got to give credit to the D-Line,” Dixon said. “Those guys are giving pressure. We are doing our job as well in the secondary. People think I’m the only one. The whole secondary is good. We have Bryce Enyard back. He was freshman of the year from 2011.
“The whole defense is good.”
Dorrel said Dixon came to Northwest as a junior college transfer in good shape. With a year of Division II experience, Dixon is a different player from this time last year.
“I think he has made a lot of improvement,” Dorrel said. “He has learned our defense and the terminology. He has really changed his body structure.
“I feel like his change has been both mentally and physically. I think it has made him a much more complete player.”
No matter how many compliments Dixon or any of the defensive players receive this season, Dixon said the defensive unit will remain humble.
There are too many good teams in the MIAA for them to get overconfident.
“Our motto is we are trying to get back to the top and be physical. I’m going to keep saying that,” Dixon said.
“You can’t sleep in the MIAA, period, because it is a hard conference.”
Dixon said he is looking forward to the next challenge. Central Missouri likes to throw the football just like Saginaw Valley.
“Saginaw Valley helped us a lot to see where we are at and how tough we are and how long we can last on the field,” Dixon said. “We like when teams throw the ball because we get work. Whenever we get a chance to play a team that passes the ball, we really like the challenge. We want to compete out there.
“I love passing teams. It gives me a chance to show my talents and what I can do on the field.”
Dixon also understands Central Missouri will enter the game with added incentive. The Mules lost their opener at home to Missouri Western on a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game.
“We can’t sleep on them,” Dixon said. “They are a good team. We have to stay focused and be on point because they are going to give everything they got. They are already one down in conference. They don’t want to be two.
“I’m looking forward to the game. I am looking forward to the challenge. It is going to be a good game.”
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