A BRIEF PREVIEW
Off to a 3-1 start in conference play, the Sacramento State football team will look to continue its surge up the conference standings when it hosts No. 12 Montana on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Hornet Stadium. The game will begin at 1:05 p.m. at will serve at Military Appreciation Day.
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 also be televised back to Montana on Max Media and can be seen on WatchBigSky.com The service is free but requires viewers to register.
Sacramento State evened its record at 4-4 overall and improved to 3-1 in league games with a decisive 31-7 win at North Dakota on Oct. 19. Quarterback Garret Safron rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the offense while Todd Davis sparked the defense with a pair of sacks and an interception. Overall, the Hornet defense had five sacks and intercepted three passes while the team also collected a fumble on special teams.
The victory was Sacramento State's third in its last four games with the lone loss coming by one point to then No. 19 Northern Arizona. In fact, the Hornets' only losses this season against FCS opponents have come by a total of four points.
Montana will enter this weekend's game with a 6-2 overall record and a 3-2 Big Sky mark. The Griz began league play with a loss at Northern Arizona, 34-16, before defeating Portland State, UC Davis and Cal Poly. The team suffered its second conference setback this past weekend when it lost at home to Eastern Washington, 42-37. In that game, EWU quarterback Vernon Adams threw for six touchdowns and 457 yards while building a 42-17 lead before UM mounted its comeback attempt.
Quarterback Jordan Johnson returns after sitting out last season and has been extremely efficient. Johnson has completed 59.2 percent of his passes for an average fo 239.1 yards per game with 22 touchdowns and just one interception. Receiver Ellis Henderson is his favorite target with 11 touchdown receptions. The Griz are not limited to TD passes as Jordan Canada has rushed for eight touchdowns and averages 72.5 yards per game.
Montana's defense has also been opportunistic, intercepting 13 passes and recovering six fumbles. The unit is led by Brock Croyle who has 74 tackles, including six for loss.
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.
Montana is coached by Mick Delaney who is in his second season leading UM. Delaney has posted an 11-8 overall record in his time with the Grizzlies.
Montana holds a commanding 16-1 lead in the all-time series against Sacramento State but its the Hornets who own the most recent victory. In 2011, Sacramento State scored a quick touchdown and never trailed in a 42-28 win at Hornet Stadium.
LAST MAN STANDING
• Brandon Kellermann picked a good time to record his highest rushing total in his entire football career. The junior rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in the team's 31-7 win at North Dakota.
• Kellermann joined Ezekiel Graham and Garrett Safron to become the third Hornet to rush for over 100 yards in a game this season. Graham had 166 against Southern Utah and Safron tallied 110 against Northern Arizona.
• Kellermann, who played linebacker at junior college and came to Sacramento State as a fullback, has rushed for all of his 247 yards in the last three games. The Sacramento, Calif., native was thrust into duty as a ball carrier after injuries decimated the position. That list continued to grow when freshman Jordan Robinson left the UND game, leaving Kellermann as the only healthy running back on the team.
• Help could be on the way soon for the 6-foot, 225-pound, Bella Vista High School graduate as Graham, Robinson and sophomore Demetrius Warren are all close to returning to action.
• After beginning the season minus-8 in turnover margin through the first three games, Sacramento State has become the Big Sky's top team with a plus-7 margin in conference games.
• The team recorded four takeways at North Dakota for its highest total of the season. The defense had interceptions by Robert Beale, Osagie Odiase and Todd Davis and the special teams recovered a muffed punt against UND. Beale and Odiase have each intercepted passes in the last two games.
• Sacramento State did not have a turnover at North Dakota and is looking to record back-to-back games without a giveaway for the first time since 2000. That challenge will be tough as Montana has recorded 13 interceptions and six fumble recoveries this season.
PUT THE WHISTLES AWAY
• Following consecutive games with only one penalty for five yards, Sacramento State's total "skyrocketed" to five infractions totaling 40 yards at North Dakota. Despite the increase, the Hornets still lead the Big Sky with an average of 20.0 penalty yards per game in conference action.
• The two recent games with only one penalty tied the school record and have helped Sacramento State jump from 81st to a tie for 46th among all FCS teams.
• The officials should not have much work to do on Saturday as Montana ranks third in Big Sky games with 19 penalties for 28.6 yards per game. However, the Griz's opponents have produced a league-leading 73.6 penalty yards per game.
BYE, BYE STREAK
• Since Marshall Sperbeck took over the Hornet program in 2007, the team has been able to breakdown some long-stranding road blocks. Among the accomplishments have been wins at Oregon State and Colorado (the first over Pac-12 schools in Hornet history), the first win at Portland State since 1985, the first against Montana and the first victory in the state of North Dakota.
• One more hurdle could be overcome this weekend as the team is looking for its first victory following a bye under Sperbeck. In the six previous seasons, Sacramento State is winless following its off week. However, those games include three tilts against Eastern Washington and one at Montana (2008) — all of which were ranked in the top 25 at the time.
SACK STREAK CONTINUES
• With a season-high five sacks at North Dakota, Sacramento State extended its streak with at least one sack to 26 consecutive games. Against UND, Todd Davis led the way with two sacks while Markell Williams, Darnell Sankey and Nehemiah Mitchell each added one.
• 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, nine different Sacramento State players have recorded at least a half sack. The group is led by Sankey who has 5.5.
ROAD SWEET ROAD
• Sacramento State has embraced the road over the last two seasons, winning four its last six games away from home against FCS teams. This year, the team is 2-0 with wins at Weber State and North Dakota, outscoring the opposition 62-10.
• Sperbeck is now 11-15 on the road against conference foes but the team is 9-9 since 2009. His only non-conference road wins came at Oregon State and Colorado.
FILLING THE HOLES
• Running back was not the only position that was hit by injuries at North Dakota as the offensive line played without starters Tyler Worthley and Derek Nielsen in the second half. In their absences, redshirt freshman Casey Dakin and sophomore Dan Stornaiuolo each received extensive playing time at guard. The pair helped the Hornets rush for 176 yards in the game.
• The action for the first for Stornaiuolo on the collegiate level. He redshirted in 2011 and missed all of last season with a knee injury.
DAVIS DOES IT ALL
• Todd Davis was credited with just eight tackles in the win at North Dakota but the senior made the most of his opportunities. Davis set a career high with two sacks and also intercepted a pass on a 4th-down attempt in the fourth quarter.
• The outstanding effort, however, was not enough to keep in the lead for tackles in the Big Sky. Davis now has a team-leading 82 stops on the year but his average of 10.3 per game places him third in the league behind Northern Colorado's Leilon Willingham (10.8) and Clarence Bumpas (10.4). Nationally, Davis is now 13th in the FCS.
• The Palmdale, Calif, native has recorded at least five tackles in all eight games this season and 29 of his last 31 games.
• 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.
• 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 Needs
3. Brett Shelton, 2004-07 326 24
4. Matt Logue, 2002-05 306 4
5. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 302 ---
Career Tackles-For-Loss Total Needs
7. Christian Clark, 2007-10 31.0 4.5
8. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 26.5 ---
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 11 more in the last five 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 Needs
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09 5,357 525
3. Mike Sullivan, 1981-83 5,085 253
4. Tony Corbin, 1995-96 4,866 34
5. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 4,832 ---
Career Passing Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 50 7
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 43 ---
Career Passing Attempts Total Needs
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09 795 79
3. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 716 ---
Career Passing Completions Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 658 215
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 443 ---
Single Season Attempts Total Needs
6. Ryan Leadingham 315 39
7. Jason Smith, 2008 303 27
8. Ricky Ray, 1999 291 15
Drew Wyant, 1989 291 15
10. Mike Lippi 287 11
--- Garrett Safron, 2013 276 ---
Single Season Completions Total Needs
3. Ryan Leadingham, 2001 214 41
4. Tony Corbin, 1995 180 7
5. Ricky Ray, 1999 179 6
6. Garrett Safron, 2013 173 ---
Single Season Yards Total Needs
8. Ricky Ray, 2000 2,200 302
9. Mike Sullivan, 1982 2,167 269
10. Greg Knapp, 1984 2,083 185
--- Garrett Safron, 2013 1,898
Single Season Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Jeff Fleming, 2010 23 5
2. Garrett Safron, 2012 22 4
3. Rick Ray, 1999 20 2
4. Garrett Safron, 2013 18 ---
CARTER FINDS HOME IN END ZONE
• For the first time since the opening two games of the season, DeAndre Carter was held without a touchdown at North Dakota. The junior still is tied for third in the FCS as well as tied for Big Sky lead with 11 touchdown receptions this season. Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois and Walter Powell of Murray State are tied for the FCS lead with 13 receiving TDs each. Ellis Henderson of Montana and EWU's Cooper Kupp have 11 to tie Carter for the Big Sky lead.
• 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 TDs.
• 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.
• 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 Needs
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 18 3
3. Mike Carter, 1968-69 17 2
4. Lamont Webb, 1997-2000 16 1
5. Tony Washington, 2007-08 15 ---
Eric Harrington, 1992-93 15 ---
DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres. 15 ---
Single Season Receiving TDs Total Needs
1. Mike Carter, 1969 14 3
2. Tony Washington, 2008 12 1
3. Mitch Oliver, 1995 11 ---
DeAndre Carter, 2013 11 ---
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 Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 248 62
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 186 ---
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 4,049 1,809
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 2,240 ---
Career Receiving Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 27 9
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 18 ---
JUST THE FACTS
• The team will wear black uniforms against Montana for the first time in school history.
• 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.
• 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 14 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.
BIG SKY NOTES
• The Big Sky/ROOT Sports Players of the Week were:
Offense: Vernon Adams, QB, Eastern Washington
Adams through for a career high 457 yards and tied the school record with six touchdown passes in a 43-37 win at Montana. He had TD passes of 19, 86, 4, 34, 52 and 9 yards.
Defense: David Edgerson, DB, Portland State
Edgerson intercepted a pair of passes and had three solo tackles in Portland State's 14-10 come-from-behind win against North Dakota. His second interception came with 1:54 left in the game.
ST: Colton Cook, K, SUU & Marcus Alford, KR, NAU
Cook made four field goals and an extra point to help Southern Utah to a 19-9 home win over Idaho State. He was successful from 38 (twice), 30 and 22 yards.
Alford helped Northern Arizona pull away for a 17-13 win at Cal Poly with a 96-yard kickoff return.
FOOTBALL WELCOMES MONTANA ON MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY