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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will look to end its season with three consecutive victories when it makes the short trip to UC Davis for the 61st Causeway Classic on Saturday. The game will kickoff at 1 p.m. from Aggie Stadium.
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.
The game will be televised by Comcast SportsNet California with Barry Tompkins, Mike Lamb and Kate Scott. Due to the fact that the game will be broadcast on television, it will not be available on WatchBigSky.com.
A victory by Sacramento State will match the highest win total during the Div. I era for the Hornets. Sacramento State enters the game with a 6-5 overall record and is now 3-4 in Big Sky Conference games following a 48-41 come-from-behind win against Portland State. A seventh win this season would match the total from the 2000 team which went 7-4. The last time Sacramento State won more than seven games came in 1991 when the team was 8-3.
This past weekend, the Hornets used a 65-yard punt return from DeAndre Carter midway through the fourth quarter to complete a comeback against PSU. Sacramento State trailed 41-31 entering the fourth quarter but responded with a touchdown to Nnamdi Agude and a field goal from Brad Cornish before the Carter punt return. All the while, the defense shut out the Vikings in the fourth quarter.
UC Davis earned its first win against a Div. I opponent this season with a 48-35 triumph at Cal Poly. The Aggies are 2-8 overall and 1-6 in league games. The team had chances to win its two games prior to Cal Poly but late interceptions created losses against Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona.
Redshirt freshman Ben Scott has taken over as the starting quarterback and has responded by throwing 16 touchdowns with four interceptions. Receiver Ramon Vargas has been his favorite target, catching 38 passes for 631 yards and eighth touchdowns. After missing much of the early season, running back Gabe Manzanares appears to have returned to form as he's compiled 670 yards (including 200 at Cal Poly) and five touchdowns in his eight games.
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.
UC Davis is coached by Ron Gould who is in his second season leading the Aggies. Gould was the running backs coach at California before moving to UC Davis.
UC Davis leads the all-time series, 43-18. The teams first played in 1954 and have met each season since. In 1988, Sacramento State defeated the Aggies twice, winning in the regular season and also in the first round of the NCAA Div. II playoffs. There has been one overtime game (1997).
CAUSEWAY CLASSIC QUICK FACTS
• Despite this being the 61st Causeway Classic, Saturday's game will be the 62nd meeting between the two schools. In 1988, the teams met twice, with Sacramento State winning in both the regular season (31-28) and the first round of the Div. II playoffs (35-13). The first of those victories ended an 18-game losing streak against the Aggies.
• The game was not referred to as the Causeway Classic until 1983. Former Sacramento State SID Mike Duncan is credited with creating the moniker.
• The Causeway Classic has drawn 567,477 fans over the past 60 years. The two largest Sacramento State football crowds have come against UC Davis. In 1999, 20,993 attended the game while the 2001 contest drew 17,328.
• Sacramento State's come-from-behind win in the fourth quarter against Portland State was the first for the team in six chances this year and just the sixth since 2007.
• During the Marshall Sperbeck era (2007-13), the Hornets were 5-34 when trailing after three quarters. However, the team had a couple of big wins amongst that total, including the victory at Colorado in 2012 and the 2009 Causeway Classic.
• The last time Sacramento State overcame a 10-plus point deficit for a victory was against UC Davis in 2009. In that contest, the Aggies led 21-10 before the Hornets scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 13-yard pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson to Brandyn Reed with 20 seconds to play to cap a 31-28 win.
ISN'T THAT SPECIAL
• Sacramento State added its third special teams touchdown of the season when DeAndre Carter travelled 65 yards on a punt return with 3:23 remaining against Portland State. The score followed an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Isiah Hennie against Menlo and an 8-yard blocked punt return by De'Jon Coleman at Northern Colorado.
• Prior to this season, the Hornets had never returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown in the same season in school history.
• Sacramento State is one of eight schools in the FCS with at least three special teams touchdowns this season.
ADDING UP THE NUMBERS
• Through 11 games this season a couple of interesting trends have appeared for Sacramento State. The first is that whatever team leads in rushing has won all 11 games involving the Hornets in 2014. Against Portland State, Sacramento State outrushed the Vikings, 290-265, to improve to 6-0 on the season when amassing more yards on the ground. Conversely, the Hornets are 0-5 when tallying fewer rushing yards.
• One stat that has bucked the trend is that Sacramento State in 2-0 when allowing a defensive or special teams touchdown. From 2007-13, the Hornets were just 2-11 when the opposition scored a non-offensive TD. This year, the stats have been aided by the fact that in the two games the opponent has scored (Northern Colorado kick return and Portland State fumble return) the Hornets have also picked up a non-offensive touchdown.
• Sacramento State is 4-1 when scoring on either defense or special teams.
• Halftime has also proved to be a predictor as the Hornets are 6-0 when up at the break and 0-5 when trailing.
WHERE NO TEAM HAS GONE BEFORE
• Sacramento State added to its prolific offensive season this past weekend as it scored 48 points to raise its season total of 417 in 11 games. The team has now scored at least 40 points seven times this year and has set the school single season record in points.
• The previous scoring record of 414 was set in 1999. That year, the team averaged 37.6 over 11 games. In order for this year's squad to break the scoring average, it will need to score 35 points against UC Davis.
• Sacramento State's average of 37.9 points per game currently ranks 14th in the FCS but is only fourth in the high-powered Big Sky Conference.
• The team's 53 touchdowns are tied for the most in a single season (1999).
• Sacramento State also tied its single-season record for field goals with 14. The mark had been set in 1999 and 2002.
• This past week, the Hornets also recorded school single-season records for passing yards (3,348) surpassing last year's total of 3,316.
• The Hornets opened the year with 11 takeaways in their first four games and stood at plus-7 in turnover margin during that span. Since that point, Sacramento State is minus-9 in turnovers and are now minus-2 on the year.
• The Hornets had a pair of takeaways against Portland State, ending a four-game stretch where they had only one fumble recovery and no interceptions. The fumble recovery came on the first offensive play of the game while the interception stopped a PSU drive at the end of the third quarter. Both takeaways led to Sacramento State touchdowns.
CARTER HONORS CONTINUE
• DeAndre Carter claimed his second ROOT Sports Big Sky Player of the Week award in as many weeks when he earned the special teams honor on Monday. That accolade came a week after he was named the FCS national and Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week.
• On Tuesday of this week, Carter was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award which goes to the top offensive player in the FCS. He's the first Hornet on the list since Fred Amey in 2004.
• Most recently, Carter returned a punt 65 yards with just over three minutes remaining to garner the Big Sky special teams award for the first time in his career. He also had eight receptions for 134 yards and a 61-yard receiving touchdown.
• Against Southern Utah, he set school records with 16 receptions for 273 yards and also had four receiving TDs. His yardage total was the most in Div. I (FBS and FCS) this season. The previous school records were 15 receptions by Fred Amey in 2004 and 228 receiving yards by Alex Estrada against Southern Utah in 1995.
• Carter became just the fourth Sacramento State player to surpass 200 receiving yards in a game and was the first since Tyrone Taylor had 201 against Weber State in 1996. Carter now has eight career 100-yard games which ranks second in school history.
• Earlier this season, kicker Brad Cornish earned FCS Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Linebacker Darnell Sankey was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week after the win at Incarnate Word.
CARTER CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• Carter remained atop the NCAA list in receptions per game and set the Sacramento State single-season mark during the Portland State game. The senior now has 90 catches this year, moving past Tony Washington's total of 83 in 2008. If he's able to have 10 receptions against UC Davis, he would become only the second player in Big Sky history to surpass 100 receptions in a season. He's currently ninth in Big Sky single season history and could move into a tie for second place with seven additional catches.
• Carter is currently the FCS leader in receptions per game (8.2), receiving yards (1,200), and receiving touchdowns (16). He's also fourth in receiving yards per game (109.1).
• His touchdown catch last week gives him at least one receiving touchdown in 15 of his last 20 games. He now has eight career multi-TD games, including five with three or more.
|Career Receiving Yards||Total||Needs|
|2. Morris Norrise, 2010-13||2,650||11|
|3. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.||2,639||---|
|Career Receiving Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|1. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.||34||---|
|2. Fred Amey, 201-04||27||---|
|2. Bryan Hilliard, 2007-11||38||2|
|3. DeAndre Carter, 2014||36||---|
|Single Season Receptions||Total||Needs|
|1. DeAndre Carter, 2014||90||---|
|1. Tony Washington, 2008||83||---|
|Single Season Receiving TDs
|1. DeAndre Carter, 2014||16||---|
|T2. Mike Carter, 1969||14||---|
|T2. DeAndre Carter, 2013||14||---|
|Single Season Receiving Yards||Total||Needs|
|1. Tony Washington, 2008||1,279||79|
|2. Kevin Fontes, 1982||1,207||7|
|3. DeAndre Carter, 2014||1,200||---|
HE'S GOT COMPANY
• Carter (1,200) and junior Nnamdi Agude (1,089) are the only set of teammates to each have over 1,000 receiving yards in the FCS this season. Prior to this season, only four Sacramento State receivers had ever gone over 1,000 yards in a season.
SAFRON LEADS THE NATION
• Senior quarterback Garrett Safron had 356 yards of total offense against the Vikings and remained the FCS leader with 355.4 yards per game. Safron's average places him 7.5 yards ahead of Yale QB Morgan Roberts for the national lead.
• The Santa Monica, Calif., native also broke his own school single-season record against the Vikings as he now has 3,909 yards of total offense .
• After earning second team all-Big Sky honors last season, 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.
• Safron now has 11 career 300-yard games which is the most in Sacramento State history and accounts for four of the five 400-yard efforts by a Hornet.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:
|Career Passing Yards||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||9,425||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||8,376||---|
|Career Passing Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||82||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||50||---|
|Career Passing Attempts||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||1,191||---|
|Career Passing Completions||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||808||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||658||---|
|Career Total Offense||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||11,287||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||8,455||---|
|Single Season Total Offense||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2014||3,909||---|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2013||3,781||---|
|Single Season Passing Yards||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2013||3,289||87|
|2. Garrett Safron, 2014||3,202||---|
|Single Season Passing TDs||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2014||29||---|
|2. Garrett Safron, 2013||27||---|
HE'S GOING THE DISTANCE
• Safron has also proved effective with his legs. 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. Safron leads the team with four rushes of at least 50 yards.
• He enters this week's game needing 100 rushing yards to pass Portland State's Conner Kavanaugh for the Big Sky record by a quarterback.
• Over his four years, Safron has now rushed for 1,862 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those marks have helped him set all the quarterback rushing marks at Sacramento State. He also became the first player in school history to surpass 10,000 yards of total offense in a career. His total of 11,287 is the most among active players in the FCS.
• Below is where he ranks on the overall career list:
|Career Rushing Yards||Total||Needs|
|6. Rob Harrison, 1985-86||1,924||62|
|7. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||1,862||---|
|Career Rushing Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|T5. Troy Mills, 1990-91||25||9|
|T6. Tyronne Gross, 2002-04||16||---|
|T6. Garrett White, 1998-2002||16||---|
|T6. Garrett Safron (QB), 2011-pres.||16||---|
BACK TO FORM
• Sophomore linebacker Russell Smith missed the first four games of 2014 but has returned to his 2013 form with double digits tackles in the last two games.
• Smith led Sacramento State with a career high 16 tackles against Southern Utah which broke his previous best of 14 which came last season at Arizona State.
• He remained the team leader against Portland State with 13 stops.
• Smith has earned the start for the Hornets in the last three games at outside linebacker. He started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last season and ranked second on the team with 78 tackles.
• Following his return this year, he was playing behind senior Henry Fernandez. However, with the injury to Darnell Sankey, Fernandez shifted to the middle freeing space for Smith.
CORNISH HONORED NATIONALLY
• Junior kicker Brad Cornish was named to the Fred Mitchell Award watch list on Oct. 27. The Mitchell Award is presented to the best kicker in the FCS, Div. II or Div. III.
• Cornish has made 14-of-17 field goal attempts this season and ranks second on the team with 93 points. The Santee, Calif., native has also been successful on 51-of-53 extra points.
• Cornish's two field goals against Portland State gave him 17 career field goals which places him seventh in school history. Next up are Jim Crouch and Roy Arreygue who each made 19 field goals. Four players have 25 or more career field goals with Scott Brown's total of 44 leading the way.
• Cornish moved onto the single-season top 10 at Sacramento State in the SUU game. He's currently tied for the school record at 14 along with Bret LeVier (2002) and Scott Brown (1999).
SANKEY NAMED TO BUCHANAN LIST
• Junior linebacker Darnell Sankey was placed in high company when he was added to the list of nominees for the Buck Buchanan Award. The award is annually given to the best defensive player in the FCS. Past winners included Kroy Biermann, Jared Allen and Rashean Mathis, who are all currently in the NFL.
• This year's list of nominees is comprised of 23 players. Sankey is one of only six juniors on the list and is one of four players from the Big Sky Conference.
• Sankey is Sacramento State's leading tackler with 99 stops on the year. The San Jose, Calif., native has recorded at least 10 tackles in each complete game he's played in this year. Sankey was disqualified in the first quarter at Idaho State due to a targeting penalty and was forced to leave the Cal Poly game in the third quarter with an injury.
• Against Montana State, Sankey had 21 tackles which 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.
• 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.
JUST THE FACTS
• Jody Sears became just the third Sacramento State head coach to win his first career game with the Hornets.
• LB Henry Fernandez, DE Jaycee Totty, QB Garrett Safron and WR 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.
• Defensive linemen Jaycee Totty and Peter Nonu are both married. Nonu has two children.
• Former Hornet Todd Davis became the 21st Sacramento State player to appear in an NFL game when he saw action with the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 19.
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 was the largest since a 69-19 win over Saint Mary's (9/6/03).
• Garrett Steele blocked a punt and also recovered a loose kickoff to set up a pair of touchdowns.
• 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.
• 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.
Northern Colorado Game
• De'Jon Coleman scores 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 blocked PR).
Cal Poly Game
• Safron set career passing yards record.
• Carter set career receiving TD record.
• Sankey suffered knee injury.
• SAC outgained Montana in total yards.
Southern Utah Game
• Carter sets school record with 16 receptions and 273 receiving yards.
• Safron throws for 425 yards and five touchdowns.
Portland State Game
• Carter returns punt for 65 yard touchdown to break tie in fourth quarter.
• Coleman rushes for career high 91 yards as part of team's total of 244.