How CMU QB Daniel Richardson, WR Dallas Dixon created their chemistry
Daniel Richardson first threw to Dallas Dixon as a member of the scout team in 2019.
Both were on vastly different trajectories at the time -- Richardson was the young quarterback waiting in the wings of starter Quinten Dormady. Dixon, a Northern Michigan transfer and walk-on receiver, just wanted a chance to play.
As Central Michigan's football team got on a roll on its way to the Mid-American Conference championship game, Richardson and Dixon formed a bond on the other side. Together, the two provided the starting defense with previews of opponents and struck up a chemistry that would be seen two years later.
"Me and Dallas go way back, from scout team," Richardson said. "I mean, man, since 2019, we were killing our defense in scout team."
Coach Jim McElwain knew what he was getting in Richardson, a three-star quarterback who lit up Miami in his high school days. Dixon, however, was less of a sure thing. The Phoenix, Arizona native would wait outside the head coach's office in hopes of simply getting his name known.
With his scout team performance however, Dixon became tough to forget. After the 2019 season, Dixon got a scholarship and a roster spot.
"We were on the team already, but once we got to top dogs, I said, 'We gotta do what we gotta do,'" Richardson said. "My thing is, when you get your opportunities, you have to make plays. And that's really what (Dixon) is. He's a playmaker."
The duo has done exactly that, displaying their chemistry over the last two seasons. Richardson has emerged as the Chippewas starting quarterback in his third year in the program, while Dixon is a top target in his second.
Richardson started four games in 2020, but was beaten for the starting role in 2021's fall camp by Washington transfer Jacob Sirmon. Despite this, Richardson saw action and threw a touchdown in each of CMU's first three games.
"Taking it day by day and taking advantage of every opportunity I get," Richardson said of his mindset. "Basically, just making sure I'm in the right place at the right time, making the right throws at the right time and being a good teammate."
With his team trailing Florida International in week four 20-10 midway through the third quarter, Richardson entered for a struggling Sirmon. After the Panthers made it 27-10 with a blocked punt that turned into a score, the Miami native took over and led the Chippewas to a win.
Since then, Richardson has claimed the starting job. On the season, he's thrown for 1,224 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. Four of those touchdowns have gone to Dixon, who leads the team in receiving with 532 yards and six touchdowns.
To prevent turnovers, Richardson takes a simplified approach.
"It goes back to film and knowing the plays," Richardson said. "Just knowing what my number one, number two and number three receiver is. As long as you know where those three guys are, you shouldn't be able to throw an interception at all. That's in the (NFL). You should have a number one, a number two and a number three read. As long as you take your reads one-by-one, play by play and, you know, everything falls in line."