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FOOTBALL CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST MENLO ON SATURDAY

FOOTBALL CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST MENLO ON SATURDAY

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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will play its final non-conference game of the season when it hosts Menlo on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Hornet Stadium. Kickoff against the Oaks will come at 6:05 p.m.

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 broadcast on the internet via BigSkyTV.org. The service is free of charge but fans need to register prior to kickoff. Fans can also download the BigSkyTV.org app to view the games on their iOS devices.
   
The Hornets are 2-1 after a 42-31 win against Weber State in a non-Big Sky game. The team compiled 467 yards of total offense and created three turnovers in the victory. Running back Jordan Robinson and quarterback Garrett Safron rushed for 130 and 115 yards respectively to lead a ground attack which totaled 265 yards. Safron also threw for 202 yards, including 124 to Nnamdi Agude, and a touchdown. Sacramento State took control of the game in the first quarter and led 20-0. The Wildcats ate away at their deficit making the score 30-24 early in the fourth quarter before the Hornets responded with 10-unanswered points.
   
This week's game marks just the sixth time that Sacramento State will face a non-Div. I opponent (other than UC Davis) since 1996. The Hornets are 5-0 in those games, including last season's 63-56 overtime win against Southern Oregon. Sacramento State has won by an average of 16.4 points per game but have seen the opposition score at least 13 points in each contest.
   
Menlo is 1-2 and coming off a bye week. The Oaks most recently rallied for a 31-24 win over Simon Fraser in Burnaby, British Columbia on Sept. 6. The team scored with 1:02 left in the game for its only lead in the fourth quarter. Kenneth Martey is Menlo's leading rusher with 42.0 yards per game. The team has used Nate Dodson and Wade Hawkins at QB. Both have thrown for a pair of touchdowns and four interceptions.

THE COACHES
Jody Sears is in his first season as the head coach at Sacramento State. Sears was previously the head coach at Weber State from 2012-13 and has been the defensive coordinator at Eastern Washington and Washington State.

Menlo is coached by Mark Grieb who is in his second season. A former quarterback at UC Davis, Grieb went on to play 12 seasons with the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. He posted a 5-5 record in his first season at Menlo.

THE SERIES
Saturday will be the first meeting between the two schools.

QUICK HITTERS
• Sacramento State is looking to win consecutive games at home for the first time since defeating Western Oregon and Weber State in 2010.
• With a victory, Jody Sears will join John Baker (1957) as the only coaches in Hornet history to begin their career 3-1.

CORNISH NAMED NATIONAL POW
• Kicker Brad Cornish was named the national and Big Sky ROOT Sports Special Teams player of the week for his performance against Weber State. Cornish was recognized nationally by The Sports Network and College Sporting News.
• Against WSU, the junior set the Sacramento State single-game record with five field goals. He also became the first Hornet to make four field goals of at least 40 yards in game. He began with a career-long 48-yarder in the first quarter and added another from 43. In the third quarter he was good from 45 yards before closing the game with makes from 32 and 40 yards.
• Cornish also averaged 65.8 yards on 10 kickoffs. He placed all but one into the end zone and had five touchbacks. His lone kick that did not cross the goal line went to the 2 and came after a five-yard penalty moved the attempt back. He also had a touchdown-saving solo tackle on one of the rare return attempts.
• To put Cornish's effort into perspective, Sacramento State had made just three field goals of 40-plus yards in the last three seasons (2011-13) combined.
• Edgar Castaneda, Chris Diniz and Bret LeVier each had games with four field goals and shared the previous record. Castaneda and Diniz both had two makes of 40-plus yards in those games.
• Although he had not made a field goal this season before facing Weber State, Cornish is now tied for 11th in the FCS with 1.67 field goals per game.
• The Santee, Calif., native also made three extra points but had one blocked. That miss stopped his streak at 24 consecutive made PATs dating back to last season.

SANKEY AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
• Linebacker Darnell Sankey recorded his third consecutive game with at least 10 tackles and now ranks sixth in the FCS in tackles per game but only third in the Big Sky. Sankey is averaging 12.7 tackles per game but trails national leader Chinedu Ahanonu of Southern Utah (17.0) and Cal Poly's Nick Dzubnar (15.5) for the conference lead.
• Sankey had 14 against Weber State to tie his career high. In the game, the San Jose, Calif., native also had 1.5 tackles-for-loss, a pass breakup and quarterback hurry.
• The junior leads the team with 38 total tackles and has forced two fumbles. He's also currently second with 2.0 tackles-for-loss.
• Sankey is the latest in a long list of Hornet linebackers who have had national success. Most recently, Todd Davis was an All-American at the position last season and finished fifth with 10.9 tackles per game. Ryland Wickman, Anthony Daisley, Matt Logue, Cyrus Mulitalo and Mike Brannon also earned All-America recognition at the position.
• Last season, Sankey ranked third on the team with 65 total tackles and led the squad with 9.5 TFLs and six sacks.
• Sankey was originally a linebacker for the Hornets out of high school but shifted to defensive end during his freshman year.

CENTURIONS
• For just the second time in school history and the first against an FCS opponent, Sacramento State had a pair of 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in the same game. Sophomore Jordan Robinson rushed for 130 yards and quarterback Garrett Safron added 115 to lead the ground game. Junior Nnamdi Agude caught seven passes for 124 yards.
• The only other occurrence came against Southern Oregon on Sept. 13, 2008 where Evander Wilkins and Jake Croxdale rushed for 161 and 109 yards, respectively, and Tony Washington caught nine passes for 159 yards.
• The Hornets have now had a pair of 100-yard rushers 13 times in school history. Saturday's game marked the first since Ezekiel Graham (158) and A.J. Ellis (118) at Idaho State on Sept. 29, 2012. What separates Robinson and Safron from the rest is that their effort was the first to involve a quarterback in the duo. Individually, Safron now has three career 100-yard games which are tied for the 12th most in school history.
•Robinson carried the ball 17 times for a career high 130 yards against Weber State. The true sophomore did not lose a yard throughout the game and also scored on runs of 1 and 30 yards. He also had a key 42-yard rush which led to a Cornish field goal.
• Robinson was thrust into action in week six of last season and made his debut against Northern Colorado where he had 19 carries for 82 yards and a TD. He finished the season with 159 rushing yards and three touchdowns. This year, he leads the team with 245 yards and is averaging 6.28 yards per carry which places him 21st in the FCS and third in the Big Sky.

WELCOME BACK
• With a wealth of returning starters on defense, its was easy to overlook the return of two seniors who saw limited or no action last season. Three weeks into the year, and the play of linebacker Henry Fernandez and safety Robbie Kendall have brought them to the forefront of the Hornet defense. The pair each had double-digit tackles against Weber State and joined Sankey to give the team three defenders with 10-plus stops.
• Fernandez had 12 tackles and also recovered a fumble against the Wildcats. His total stops eclipsed his previous career best of 10 which came in the win at Colorado.
• The Oxnard, Calif., native appeared in 30 games from 2010-12 before redshirting in 2013 with a back injury.
• Kendall finished with 11 tackles for the second consecutive week. That total is also his career best. The senior also tallied his first career sack when he came off the edge for a 10-yard loss.
• Kendall came to the Hornets from Butte JC and earned the starting safety job to open 2013. However, a neck injury forced him to miss the final 11 games of the year and left his football future in doubt. Kendall received medical clearance to return to the field and now ranks second on the squad with 14 tackles.

AGUDE BREAKS OUT AGAIN
• For the second time in three games, Nnamdi Agude finished with over 100 receiving yards. The junior made his first career start at Incarnate Word and responded with six grabs for 111 yards. After being held to three catches for 33 yards at Cal, he led the team with seven receptions and 124 yards against Weber State.
• Agude now leads the team with 16 receptions, 266 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. His average of 88.7 receiving yards per game ties him for 19th in the FCS and fourth in the Big Sky.
• In his first two seasons with the team, Agude caught three passes for 24 yards. This year already, he has three catches of 25 yards or more.

STARTING OVER
• After having its streak of 31-consecutive games with a sack come to an end at Cal, Sacramento State was back at work with three sacks against WSU. Ben Cowger, Jaycee Totty and Kendall were each credited with a stop.
• The Hornets have had a sack in 27 straight games against an FCS foe.

CARTER CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• Senior DeAndre Carter was the lone member of the Hornets to earn preseason all-Big Sky honors in a vote of the league's media. Carter was also a preseason All-American by several publications.
• Last season, the Fremont, Calif., native exploded for 934 yards and a school-record tying 14 receiving touchdowns in 11 games. He missed the final game of the after spraining his ankle at Portland State.
• He returned to the end zone twice at Incarnate Word to move into sole possession of second place on the Sacramento State career list. Carter's first TD came on a 33-yard pass up the middle of the field. His second was a 24-yard grab in the front right corner of the end zone where he had to out muscle the defender.
• Carter has caught a touchdown in nine of his last 12 games and finished 2013 tied for fourth in the FCS with 14.
• Carter did not catch a touchdown pass as a freshman in 2011 where he had 11 receptions for 161 yards. As a sophomore, 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 Yards    Total    Needs
T3. Mike Carter, 1968-69    1,834    265
T3. Lamont Webb, 1997-2000    1,834    265
5. Tony Washington, 2007-08    1,693    124
6. Scott Towne, 19997-2000    1,646    77
7. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.    1,569    ---

Career Receiving Touchdowns    Total    Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04    27    7
2. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.    20    ---

SAFRON HONORS CONTINUE
• After earning second team all-Big Sky honors last season, senior Garrett Safron found himself on nearly every preseason watch list and all-conference team heading into 2014. Safron also served as the team's representative for the Big Sky Kickoff media event in Park City, Utah during July.
• Last season, Safron rewrote the school single season record book with 294 completions, 460 attempts, 3,289 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns. He also rushed for a team best 492 yards and seven touchdowns and set the single season mark with 3,781 yard of total offense. Following the year, he was named the team's offensive MVP and became the first Hornet QB to be named first or second team all-Big Sky.
• Safron lived up to the preseason hype as he completed 17-of-25 passes for 251 yards and five touchdowns with an interception at UIW. He has now thrown four or more touchdowns in three of the last five games and has six career 4+ TD games.
• Last year, Safron had three of the most memorable single game efforts as he threw a  Big Sky record seven touchdowns against Southern Oregon. Midway through the year he completed 41 passes against Montana to take down the school mark and later added a 554-yard effort at Portland State to also set the Hornet record.
• The performance at Portland State helped the team to a 43-42 victory and was his fourth 300-yard game of the year. His seven career 300-yard games has him tied with Ryan Leadingham for the most in Sacramento State history.
• The Santa Monica, Calif., native has started every game over the past two seasons and is now either first or second in every career passing record at Sacramento State.

• Below is where he ranks in school history:

Career Passing Yards    Total    Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    8,376    1,551
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    6,825    ---

Career Passing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    59    ---
2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    50    ---

Career Passing Attempts    Total    Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    1,191    199
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    992    ---

Career Passing Completions    Total    Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    658    46
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    512    ---

HE'S GOING THE DISTANCE
• Safron has also proved effective with his legs in the early season. His 73-yard touchdown run at Cal was a career long and the longest by a Hornet since Ryan Mole went 87 yards against Montana State in 2004. He added a 70-yard touchdown run against Weber State.
• Over his four years, Safron has now rushed for 1,225 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those marks have helped him set nearly all the quarterback rushing marks at Sacramento State. Below is where he ranks on the overall career list:

Career Rushing Yards    Total    Needs
10. Pedro Lewis, 1991-93    1,487    147
11. Tyronne Gross, 2002-04    1,448    108
12. John Scorza, 1967-68    1,357    17
13. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    1,340    ---

Career Rushing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
T6. Tyronne Gross, 2002-04    16    2
T6. Garrett White, 1998-2002    16    2
T8. Ricky Ray (QB), 1999-2000    15    1
T8. John Scorza, 1967-68    15    1
10. Lyle James (QB), 1966-68    14    ---
11. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    14    ---

A LONG TIME COMING
• When Anthony and Nick Payne stepped on the field at Incarnate Word it marked the first time that the twin brothers have played together since their senior year at Mira Mesa High School in 2010.

Both committed to Sacramento State in the spring of 2011. Nick redshirted that fall while Anthony did not enroll until the spring semester. In 2012, Nick appeared in nine games at cornerback and Anthony redshirted. The tables were turned a year ago when Anthony played in 11 games and Nick was forced to miss the year due to an injury.

The pair established themselves as probable starters during this summer but they nearly were not able to play together when Anthony dislocated his pinky finger during the final scrimmage. The bone broke through the skin and required a trip to the emergency room and a protective cast to play at UIW.

FOUR CAPTAINS NAMED
• Linebacker Henry Fernandez, defensive end Jaycee Totty, quarterback Garrett Safron and wide receiver DeAndre Carter were named captains in a vote by the team prior to the season. The four will serve as captains for each game this year. All four captains are seniors and, with the exception of Totty, are in their fifth year with the program.

COACHES LUNCHEONS RETURN
• Each Monday throughout the season the public is invited to the Field House American Sports Pub. Head coach Jody Sears and selected players will speak to the audience. Highlights from the previous game and a look at the upcoming opponent will also be provided. Cost is $12 and includes your choice from a selected menu, drink, tax and gratuity. The luncheons will begin at noon each Monday but will not be held on Oct. 6 (Mattos Golf Tournament), Oct. 27 (bye week) or Nov. 17 (Causeway Classic luncheon week).
 
JUST THE FACTS
General Notes
• Jody Sears became just the third Sacramento State head coach to win his first career game with the Hornets.

Incarnate Word Game

• The team's 49 points at Incarnate Word were the most in a season opener in school history. The previous mark was 48 against Chico State in 1988.
• The 46 point margin of victory over Incarnate Word was the largest since a 69-19 win over Saint Mary's on Sept. 6, 2003.
• The win at UIW was the team's first in their yellow jerseys.
• Nnamdi Agude became the 46th player to have a 100-yard receiving game in school history.
Garrett Steele blocked a punt and also recovered a loose kickoff to set up a pair of touchdowns.

Cal Game

• The 28 first quarter points scored by the Golden Bears were the most by an opponent in school history.
• Safron's 73-yard touchdown run was the longest rush by a Hornet since 2004.

Weber State Game
• Robinson (130 rush), Safron (115 rush) and Agude (124 rec) become first pair of 100-yard rushers and 100-yard receiver for Hornets since 2008.
• Sankey (14), Fernandez (12) and Kendall (11) each have double digit tackles.
• Hornets win home opener for fifth straight year.
• Kickoff temp was 100 degrees.

BIG SKY NOTES
• Montana State quarterback Dakota Prukop and was named the ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week after compiling 379 yards of total offense.
• Montana defensive end Zack Wagenmann earned the defensive award with three sacks and six total tackles.

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