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FOOTBALL BACK ON THE ROAD AT NORTHERN COLORADO

FOOTBALL BACK ON THE ROAD AT NORTHERN COLORADO

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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will look to get back in the Big Sky Conference race when it plays at Northern Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 11. The game against the Bears will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. PDT from Nottingham Field.

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 WatchBigSky.com. The service is free of charge but fans need to register prior to kickoff. Fans can also download the WatchBigSky.com app to view the games on their iOS devices.

Sacramento State dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in Big Sky Conference games following a heart-wrenching 59-56 loss to Montana State. The Hornets overcame a 14-point deficit to take the lead with just over a minute to play on DeAndre Carter's third touchdown reception of the game. However, MSU returned the kickoff 70 yards leading to a 4-yard touchdown pass with just four seconds left in the game for the win. Sacramento State amassed a school record 694 yards of offense and the two teams combined for 1,313 yards.

Northern Colorado earned its first conference win since 2012 when it downed Northern Arizona, 24-17, on Saturday. Dominick Sierra had a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown and Kyle Griffin returned a pick 84 yards for a fourth-quarter score to propel UNC. Northern Colorado was outgained, 474-225, and compiled just 11 first downs in the victory.

Sean Rubalcaba and Jonathan Newsom have each seen time at quarterback this season for the Bears. Rubalcaba has thrown for 519 yards while completing 69.0 percent of his passes in four games. Newsom has 356 yards and a 56.2 completion percentage in two games. Both have thrown one touchdown and one interception.

Defensively, Northern Colorado leads the Football Championship Subdivision with 13 interceptions. Griffin ranks second in the FCS with four interceptions and is one of nine UNC players with at least one.

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.

Northern Colorado is coached by Earnest Collins, Jr., who is in his fourth season at UNC. Prior to taking the job, Collins was the head coach at Alcorn State for two years. Overall, Collins is 16-43 as a head coach.

THE SERIES
Sacramento State holds an 8-0 lead in the all-time series against Northern Colorado. The two teams have played annually since 2006, including last season's non-league matchup which was won by the Hornets. The three games at Nottingham Field have all been memorable. In 2007, Tony Washington caught a 44-yard "Hail Mary" from Jason Smith with no time left for a 20-17 victory. Two years later, the Hornets led 31-0 at the half but were forced to hold on for a 38-35 win. In 2011, Sacramento State did not officially attempt a pass (one attempt was negated by a penalty) in a 14-0 rain-soaked victory.

A DEEPER LOOK
• Several members of the Hornets and the team itself did a pretty good job of changing the school record book in the game against Montana State. Below is a look at some of the top 10 records that were set:

Team Notes
• The 56 points scored by Sacramento State are the 11th most in school history.
• The 28 fourth-quarter points set the school record. The previous best was 22 at Montana in 1999.
• The 115 combined points rank as the fourth most in school history.
• The 59 points allowed are tied for the seventh most in Hornet history.
• The 694 yards of total offense set the school record.
• The 463 passing yards are the second most by a Hornet team.
• The 10.06 yards per play by the Hornets broke the previous school record of 8.51 set against UC Davis in 1999.
• Team posted 500 yards of total offense for the third consecutive week for the first time since 1999.

Garrett Safron Notes
• 463 passing yards rank second in school history behind his mark of 554 from last season.
• Set the school record and ranks fourth in the Big Sky with 609 yards of total offense. Safron had the previous record of 596 at Portland State last season. He now has the top four total offense performances in school history.
• His five touchdown passes are tied for the third most in school history. He now has seven games with four or more touchdowns.
• His 146 rushing yards were the most by a Hornet QB and rank 69th in school history. He now has four career 100-yard rushing games.
• Became the first Hornet player to pass for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards in a game in school history.

DeAndre Carter Notes
• Tied Fred Amey for school record with 27 career touchdown passes.
• Became the first individual in school history to catch 10-plus passes in two consecutive games. His 10 receptions are tied for the 10th most by a Hornet.
• Caught a career high 184 yards which ranks ninth in school history.
• Recorded his sixth career 100-yard game — tied for third most in school history.

Nnamdi Agude Notes
• Had a career high 197 receiving yards — tied for the fifth most in school history.
• Recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving game in six contests this season.

Darnell Sankey Notes
• Had 21 tackles which are tied for the second most in school history behind Ryland Wickman's 22 at Eastern Washington in 1997.
• Now had 10-plus tackles in five of the six games. Only played the first quarter in the other contest.
• Also rushed for a 1-yard TD in the game.

ALL BY THEMSELVES
• DeAndre Carter and Nnamdi Agude became the first pair of Sacramento State players to each record 150-plus receiving yards in a game with their effort at Idaho State. The pair wasted no time doing it again, repeating the feat against Montana State.
• At Idaho State, Carter had 14 catches for 158 yards while Agude grabbed 11 passes for 153 yards. This past week, Carter caught 11 passes for 184 yards and Agude added six receptions for 197 yards (30.8 yards per reception). The duo also combined for five TD receptions
• Agude has four 100-yard games in the first six contests of this season. Prior to the year, the junior had never had more than 13 yards in a game.
• The duo also amassed the most yardage by two Sacramento State receivers in a game with a combined 384 yards. That mark broke their record of 311 which came a week earlier.
• Last season, Sacramento State had three players go over 100 yards at Portland State. The trio of Shane Harrison (138), Carter (133) and Norrise (126) amassed 397 yards against the Vikings.

KEEPING IT ROLLING
• Sacramento State has recorded 500+ yards of total offense in three consecutive weeks for the first time since 1999. The streak started with the 551 against Menlo  before adding 532 at Idaho State.
• In 1999, a Hornet offense which had Ricky Ray and Charles Roberts posted 596 yards against UC Davis, 566 against Montana State and 509 at Weber State.
• The offensive output is nothing new to the current team as it ranks among the FCS elite in total offense this season. Sacramento State is ninth in the FCS and third in the Big Sky with 488.5 yards per game. Yale is the national leader a 631.0 average in its three games. The Hornets also rank 10th in the FCS with 40.7 points per game.
• Individually, Safron is third nationally with 352.7 yards of total offense per game. Eastern Washington's Vernon Adams is the leader at 393.3. Overall the Big Sky has four of the top five leaders in the FCS.
• Carter is second in the FCS with nine touchdown receptions — one behind EWU's Cooper Kupp.
• Agude is seventh nationally with 110.5 receiving yards per game.

PUTTING PERSPECTIVE ON SAFRON
• Safron's 609 yards of total offense was one of the best performances in FBS history as he now leads the subdivision this season and ranks 14th all-time. It also was the fourth best in Big Sky history.
• The FCS does not have a complete record of quarterbacks that have thrown for over 400 yards and rushed for over 100. However, at the FBS level, the feat has only been accomplished eight times. Brett Smith of Wyoming is the only player to throw for more than 450 yards and rush for over 140 yards. Smith had 498 passing yards and 142 rushing yards against Hawaii last season.
• Safron now owns the top four single-game total offense performances in school history and has three games with over 500 yards. He also ranks first and third in single-season performances and holds the career record. His 9,494 career yards of total offense is the third best total among active FCS players.

FINALLY A SEQUEL
• Through five games this season, Sacramento State had intercepted six passes. Each of those six had been by a different player and all were the first interception of that player's career.
• That streaked stopped just seconds into the Montana State game when Joshua Armstrong stepped in front of Dakota Prukop's pass and returned the interception 31-yards for a touchdown on the second offensive play of the game. The interception was the second of the season for Armstrong.

SANKEY RETURNS TO THE FIELD
• Linebacker Darnell Sankey led the Hornet defense with 21 tackles against Montana State. That effort moved Sankey back into the top three in the FCS with 13.0 tackles per game.
• Sankey's 21 stops tied Cyrus Mulitalo for second place in school history and left him one shy of Ryland Wickman's school record which came at Eastern Washington in 1997.
• In the five complete games he's played, Sankey has recorded at least 10 tackles each time. He opened the year with 10 at Incarnate Word and also had a 59-yard interception return against the Cardinals. The junior has 14 stops at Cal and 17 against Menlo.
• The double-digit streak was stopped when Sankey was disqualified at Idaho State for targeting during the first quarter.
• The Big Sky boasts the top three tackles in the FCS. Cal Poly's Nick Dzunbar is the  FCS leader at 13.8 per game. Chinedu Ahanonu of Southern Utah is second at 13.2.
• The San Jose, Calif., native leads the team with 78 total tackles and has forced two fumbles. He's also currently second with 5.0 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.

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.
• Carter has caught a touchdown in 12 of his last 15 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
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-13    2,650    662
3. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.    1,988    ---

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

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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Safron now has nine career 300-yard games which is the most in Sacramento State history.
• The Santa Monica, Calif., native has started every game since the start of 2011 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    503
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    7,873    ---

Career Passing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    69    ---
2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    50    ---

Career Passing Attempts    Total    Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    1,191    86
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    1,105    ---

Career Passing Completions    Total    Needs
1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    687    ---
2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    658    --

Career Total Offense    Total    Needs
1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    9,494    ---
2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04    8,455    --

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 1,621 yards and 14 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
6. Rob Harrison, 1985-86    1,924    303
7. Ryan Mole, 2004-05    1,626    5
8. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.    1,621    ---

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 (QB), 2011-pres.    14    ---

DOUBLE DIGIT CLUB
• While Sankey posted huge numbers, he was not the only Hornet to have 10-plus tackles against MSU. Senior linebacker Henry Fernandez had 11 tackles for his third double-figure game of the year and second consecutive. Senior Jaycee Totty also posted 11 stops for a career high. Totty leads the team with 7.5 tackles-for-loss and will crack the Hornet career top 10 with three more TFLs.

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.
• Linebacker Henry Fernandez, defensive end Jaycee Totty, quarterback Garrett Safron and wide receiver DeAndre Carter were named team captains for the season.
• Former Hornet All-American Charles Roberts was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame on Sept. 20.

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.

Menlo Game
• The 59 points are the ninth most in school history.
• Eight players scored one touchdown.
• Team tied record with four interceptions.

Idaho State Game
• Safron became school leader in total offense.
• Team dropped to 4-15 in Big Sky openers.

Montana State Game
• Team set school record with 694 yards of total offense.
• Safron became first Hornet QB to throw for 300 yards  (463) and rush for 100 yards (146) in a game.
• Sankey with 21 tackles.
• Agude (197) and Carter (184) become first Hornet duo to each have 100 yards in consecutive games.
• 28 fourth quarter points the most in school history.

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