A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team returns to the road for just the second time in six weeks when it travels to Grand Forks, N.D., to face North Dakota on Saturday, Oct. 19. The game will kick off at 12:35 p.m. PDT and will mark the Hornets' first appearance in the Alerus Center as well as their first day game of the season.
There will be multiple ways to follow this week's game. Hornet fans can tune in to KTKZ 1380 AM (The Answer) to hear the radio call of Jason Ross, Steve McElroy and Danny Sullivan. Live audio streaming is also available via www.hornetsports.com and on the iHeart Radio application for mobile devices.
This week's game will be televised locally in North Dakota on the Midco Sports Network and can be seen on WatchBigSky.com The service is free but requires viewers to register.
Sacramento State enters the game with a 3-4 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Big Sky Conference games. The team missed a chance to take sole possession of first place when it saw a 38-21 lead disappear in a 39-38 loss to No. 19 Northern Arizona on Saturday. Quarterback Garrett Safron rushed for a career high 110 yards and also threw for 220 in the loss. The defense also provided its first score of the year with a 37-yard interception return by Robert Beale.
North Dakota is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in league games following its 35-14 loss to No. 6 Eastern Washington. UND was plagued by four turnovers in the game, including a 77-yard interception return which halted a potential game-tying drive in the second half.
Freshman Joe Mollberg threw for a career high 355 yards and now averages 204.3 passing yards per game with five touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. The trio of Kenny Golloday, Jameer Jackson and Greg Hardin are all big play threats at receiver. The group has combined to catch 97 passes and six touchdowns. Jake Miller is averaging 60.5 yards per game and has five touchdowns which leads the North Dakota ground attack.
Defensively, Ben Peters and Garrison Goodman are tied for the team lead with 34 tackles apiece. Dominique Bennett has posted a team-best four sacks and Chavon Mackey had a team-leading two interceptions.
The game will serve as a homecoming for Sacramento State Director of Athletics Dr. Terry Wanless. The South Dakota native held the same position at UND from 1990-99.
Marshall Sperbeck is in his seventh season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 33-41 overall record. For a complete bio, please see page 2.
North Dakota is coached by Chris Mussman who is in his sixth season leading UND. Mussman has posted a 60-60 overall record in his time in Grand Forks.
Sacramento State and North Dakota have met just twice in school history. The teams first played in 1979 where UND blanked the Hornets, 31-0. Last season, the teams played their first Big Sky game where North Dakota prevailed, 35-13, at Hornet Stadium.
In that game, Sacramento State had more total yards and first downs but could not overcome three turnovers and two failed fourth-down conversions. Mitch Sutton rushed for 162 yards and three TDs for UND.
FIRST TIME, LONG TIME
• When Robert Beale stepped in front of a Kyren Poe pass and returned the interception 37 yards for a touchdown, it marked the first time this season that the Hornets had scored a non-offensive touchdown.
• In fact, Beale became the first Sacramento State player to return an interception for a score since Kyle Monson had a 24-yard pick six at Portland State Nov 5, 2011.
• That same season, Ben Cowger fell on a fumble in the end zone against UC Davis on Nov. 19, marking the last time the defense or special teams scored.
• Along with the touchdown from Beale, the Hornets were also able to covert Osagie Odiase's interception into seven points. In the first six games of the year, Sacramento State was only able to turn six turnovers into three points.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS
• The trio of Justin Weldon, Jesse Aguilar and Brad Cornish all helped the Hornets' cause against Northern Arizona in the kicking game.
• Weldon averaged 46.2 yards on six punts and held NAU to minus-1 return yards on the day. He was able to place four of his six kicks inside the 20-yard line, including one at the 6 and one at the 3.
• Aguilar scored the game's first points with a 32-yard field to set his career long. After struggling at the start of the season, the junior has now made his last three attempts. Aguilar also converted all five of his extra point attempts against the Lumberjacks and is now 25-of-26 on the season.
• Cornish forced NAU into long drives with two kickoffs for touchbacks and five others that pinned the Lumberjacks inside their own 25.
NON FLAG DAY (PART II)
• Sacramento State tied its school record for fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards when it was called for one infraction for five yards in each of the last two games. The Hornets were whistled for an ineligible man down field against Northern Colorado and had a false start against Northern Arizona. The 10 total yards has moved the team from 81st to 28th among FCS teams for penalty yards per game in just two weeks.
• Through the first five games, Sacramento State was called for 38 penalties for an average of 60 yards per game.
CARTER FINDS HOME IN END ZONE
• Despite catching a 22-yard touchdown pass against Northern Arizona, DeAndre Carter dropped out of the national lead for TD receptions. The junior now has 11 scoring catches on the year, placing him one behind Murray State's Walter Powell and Eastern Illinois' Erik Lora.
• Carter began his streak against Southern Oregon where he caught 12 passes for 122 yards and a school record five touchdowns. His reception total tied him for third place in school history and was the most by a Hornet since 2004.
• A week later against Southern Utah, he had five receptions for 56 yards and also found the end zone one time.
• At Weber State, Carter eclipsed his career high with 148 receiving yards on eight receptions with three touchdowns.
• He added a new wrinkle against Northern Colorado with a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before catching a 12-yard pass in the second quarter. He nearly had a second TD reception but was ruled down on the 1-yard line.
• Most recently, Carter caught five passes for 106 yards and a TD. He now has three 100-yard receiving games this season.
• Carter has become just the third player in school history to catch at least three touchdown passes in a game twice, joining Mike Carter and Eric Harrington.
• Carter did not catch a touchdown pass as a freshman in 2011 where he had 11 receptions for 161 yards. Last year, he got off to a great start, scoring touchdowns in each of the first four games. However, he did not find the end zone for the remainder of the season, finishing with 32 catches for 344 yards.
Career Receiving Touchdowns - Total
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. - 18
3. Mike Carter, 1968-69 - 17
4. Lamont Webb, 1997-2000 - 16
5. Tony Washington, 2007-08 - 15
Eric Harrington, 1992-93 - 15
DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres. - 15
Single Season Receiving TDs - Total
1. Mike Carter, 1969 - 14
2. Tony Washington, 2008 - 12
3. Mitch Oliver, 1995 - 11
DeAndre Carter, 2013 - 11
KEEPING A CLEAN SHEET
• For the second time in three weeks, Sacramento State as able to hold the opposition without a sack. The Hornet offensive line which is primarily comprised of tackles Lars Hanson and Aleksandar Milanovic, guards Tyler Worthley and Derek Nielson and center John Wallace has allowed just nine sacks this season. The average of 1.29 sacks per game ties the team for 32nd in the FCS but is the eighth best amongst teams that averaged 36 pass attempts per game.
SACK STREAK CONTINUES
• Markell Williams extended Sacramento State's streak with at least one sack to 25 consecutive games with his takedown of Kyren Poe in the first half of the NAU game.
• The last time the Hornets were unable to get to the quarterback came in the team's 42-28 win over Montana on Sept. 24, 2011.
• This season, eight different Sacramento State players have recorded at least a half sack. The group is led by Darnell Sankey who has 4.5.
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
• Heading into the season, Ezekiel Graham was slated to play a significant role for the Sacramento State offense as a running back, receiver and kick/punt returner. Those plans held through the first five weeks of the year as Graham led the team with 574 all-purpose yards but fell apart when Graham was sidelined by an ankle injury.
• Behind Graham on the preseason depth chart were sophomore De'jon Coleman and redshirt freshman Demetrius Warren. Coleman had eight carries before a neck injury took him out of the rotation. Warren stepped in nicely, amassing 197 yards and a touchdown before he suffered a shoulder injury at Weber State.
• Down its top three rushers, Sacramento State has turned to true freshman Jordan Robinson and converted fullback Brandon Kellermann the last two weeks. Robinson had a breakout performance against UNC with 82 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards. Kellermann, who played linebacker in junior college, has amassed 128 yards on 30 carries and scored his first career touchdown against NAU.
SAFRON CONTINUES HIS ROLL
• Through the first nine quarters of the season, Garrett Safron had not thrown a touchdown. The junior then threw a school record seven over the next three quarters and overtime against Southern Oregon and has added 10 more in the last four games. Despite the slow start to the year, Safron is now tied for fourth in the FCS with 17 passing touchdowns this season.
• Safron's seven passing touchdowns broke Ryan Leadingham's record of six against Idaho State in 2003. He enters this week's game tied with Jason Smith for second in school history with 38 career touchdown passes.
• To put the seven touchdowns against SOU in perspective, his single-game effort was greater than or equal to the Hornet team leader in four seasons since 1990.
• His 34 completions against Southern Oregon are the second most only behind his 37 from last season's Causeway Classic. He also moved into a tie for third place with 52 pass attempts.
• In his first full year as a starter (2012), Safron set the Sacramento State single season record with 246 completions and a 64.2 completion percentage. He also ranked second with 383 attempts and 22 touchdowns.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:
Career Passing Yards - Total
3. Mike Sullivan, 1981-83 - 5,085
4. Tony Corbin, 1995-96 - 4,866
5. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. - 4,630
Career Passing Touchdowns - Total
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 - 50
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. - 42
Career Passing Attempts - Total
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09 - 795
3. Tony Corbin, 1995-96 - 701
4. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. - 692
Career Passing Completions - Total
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09 - 442
3. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. - 424
DAVIS TAKES OVER BIG SKY LEAD
• With his fourth double-digit tackle performance in the last five games, Todd Davis has become the leading tackler in the Big Sky this season. The senior has 74 total stops and his average of 10.6 per game not only leads the Big Sky but places him tied for 10th in the FCS.
• Davis has recorded at least five tackles in all seven games this season and 28 of his last 30 games. His most recent effort moved him into fifth place in school history.
• Davis has led the team in tackles the past two seasons, tallying 96 in 2011 and 103 in 2012. Last year's total also included a team-best 13.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks. That effort helped him be named second team all-Big Sky.
• The Palmdale, Calif., native has made a couple of changes in 2013. The first came when he changed his jersey number to No. 53 after wearing No. 91 the previous three years. The second will be on the field as he moves from outside linebacker to middle linebacker where he replaces the graduated Jeff Badger.
• Since moving to the FCS in 1993, Sacramento State has had five different linebackers earn All-America honors and 22 named all-Big Sky Conference.
• Below is a list of where Davis ranks in school history:
Career Tackles - Total
3. Brett Shelton, 2004-07 - 326
4. Matt Logue, 2002-05 - 306
5. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. - 294
Career Tackles-For-Loss - Total
7. Christian Clark, 2007-10 - 31.0
8. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. - 24.5
MO ON THE MOVE
• Senior Morris Norrise extended his streak to 21-straight games in which he's played with a catch. In fact, Norrise has had two receptions in every game and four or more in 19 of the 21.
• Norrise leads the team with 44 receptions this season and is second with 395 yards and three TDs. Last season, he set career highs with 60 receptions and 777 yards.
•Norrise's average of 6.3 receptions per game places him fifth in the Big Sky and 20th in the FCS.
• The Berkeley, Calif., native was named to the 2013 Big Sky preseason team and was a second team all-conference selection following last season. He was honorable mention all-Big Sky the previous two years.
• Norrise either is in second place of every major career receiving record at Sacramento State. Below is a look at where Norrise ranks on the Sacramento State career lists:
Career Receptions - Total
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 - 248
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. - 177
Career Receiving Yards - Total
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 - 4,049
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. - 2,175
Career Receiving Touchdowns - Total
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 - 27
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. - 18
JUST THE FACTS
• Jesse Aguilar's missed PAT against Northern Colorado was his first at any level of football (high school, junior college and at Sacramento State).
• Sacramento State's games against Southern Oregon and Southern Utah marked the first time that the Hornets played consecutive overtime games in school history.
• The 63 points scored against Southern Oregon were tied for the fourth most in school history and the most since 2003.
• The team tied the school record with 101 plays against SOU.
• Nine touchdowns were tied the school record while nine successful PATs set a new mark.
• The Hornets are minus-16 in turnover margin dating back to the start of last season. Last year, the team forced 18 fumbles but recovered only four.
• Bill Laveroni (offensive line) and Fred Kelley (tight ends/special teams) are both in their first seasons on the Hornet staff. Laveroni has coached at nearly every level of football from high school to the NFL career. Kelley is back after spending last season as the offensive line coach at Humboldt State.
• Sperbeck's 13 career road wins are the third most in school history. Ray Clemons won 35 games in 15 years and Bob Mattos won 34 in 15 years.
• Prior to being shutout at San Jose State, Sacramento State had scored in 68 straight games and at least a touchdown in 43 consecutive games.
• The 55-point margin of defeat at Arizona State is tied for the fifth largest in school history.
• The team's six first downs at ASU are tied for the third fewest in program history.
COACHES LUNCHEONS RETURN
• The Hornet Club Football Luncheons returned on Monday, Sept. 9, at Buca di Beppo on Howe and Hurley. The luncheons will feature head coach Marshall Sperbeck as well as a student-athlete and will take place from 12 -1 p.m.
• The luncheons will take place each Monday throughout the season. For $12 patrons will receive salad, entree, bread, desert and drink.
FOOTBALL MAKES FIRST TRIP TO NORTH DAKOTA IN 34 YEARS