FOOTBALL HOSTS INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER ON SATURDAY

FOOTBALL HOSTS INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER ON SATURDAY

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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will make its first appearance at Hornet Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 9, when the Hornets welcome Incarnate Word. The game will kick off at 6:05 p.m.

Saturday will serve as Community Day and Band Day for Sacramento State. The first 1,000 fans will also received schedule magnets courtesy of Pepsi.
The Hornets enter the contest with an 0-1 record after falling at Idaho, 28-6. Junior Devon Medeiros made a pair of field goals for the team's points, including a career best 52-yarder. The defense also played well with two interceptions, a fumble recovery and four sacks.

This week's game marks the first of three straight home contests for the Hornets. The last time the team played three home games in consecutive weeks came in 2003 when it hosted Idaho State, UC Davis and Northern Arizona.

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 and Tune-In apps for mobile devices.

The game can also be viewed on WatchBigSky powered by Pluto.TV. The new service by the conference partner allows fans to watch the game on over the type devices. Simply download the Pluto TV app and look for the Hornets on channel 233.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: INCARNATE WORD
Incarnate Word is in its first season as a full-fledged NCAA Div. I institution. The Cardinals started the transition process to Div. I in 2013 and are now allowed to compete in NCAA postseason events.

UIW opened its year with a 66-0 loss at Fresno State on Sept. 1. The Cardinals were held to minus-30 rushing yards in the game and finished with just 125 total yards compared to 613 from the Bulldogs. Fresno State scored 17 points in the first and second quarters and added its final 32 points in the third quarter.
Incarnate Word used a pair of QBs in the game at Fresno State. Sacramento native Taylor Laird (Oakmont HS/Sac City JC) was 9-of-20 for 90 yards and an interception. Sean Brophy was 6-of-11 for 65 yards.

Larry Kennan is in his fifth season at Incarnate Word and owns a 16-28 overall record. A coaching veteran, Kennan has had stints in the NFL as a coordinator for the New England Patriots and was also a head coach in NFL Europe.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Sacramento State is 38-23-1 all-time in home openers. The team has been victorious in six of the last seven home debuts with the one defeat coming last season to Western Oregon.

The Hornets are facing an FCS opponent from outside the Big Sky Conference for the first time since playing at Incarnate Word in 2013. The game also marks the first time Sacramento State has faced a Southland Conference team since playing at Texas State in 1997.

NO DIRTY LAUNDRY
Sacramento State set the school record for fewest penalty yards in a game and tied the program mark for fewest penalties in its game at Idaho.

The Hornets were not called for a penalty in the first half before being whistled for delay of game in the fourth quarter. At the time, the team was backed up near its own end zone and the call resulted in only a 2-yard loss.

The two penalty yards were the fewest by a Hornet team breaking the previous low of five which had been set by several teams.

Sacramento State currently leads the FBS in fewest penalties per game and fewest penalty yards per game. In fact, no other team had fewer than 10 penalty yards in the first weekend of action.

TURNOVER TURNAROUND
One issue plaguing Sacramento State a year ago was its inability to record interceptions. The team picked off just four passes on 301 attempts by the opposition during the season (1.32 percent).

That number drastically changed at Idaho as the Hornets had two interceptions on Matt Linehan's 19 attempts (10.5 percent).

The first pick came in the first quarter when Dre Terrell knocked the ball away from the intended receiver in the end zone and was then able to make the catch on his back. Mister Harriel added the second INT when he jumped a route in the middle of the field in the third quarter.

Both interceptions were the first in their careers for the pair of Sacramento area products.

One positive from a season ago was the team's nose for a loose football. Sacramento State recovered 10 of 13 opponent fumbles during the season and was also able to land on eight of its own 13 fumbles.

Against Idaho, the Hornets fumbled once but were able to keep possession. Idaho put the ball on the ground two times with George Obinna recovering one.
Last season the Hornets only had two games in which they forced at least three turnovers.

Sacramento State is tied for sixth in the FCS with a plus-3.00 turnover margin. However, the team is still second in the Big Sky as Weber State finished plus-5 in its 76-0 win over Montana Western.

GEORGE OF THE BACKFIELD
Junior George Obinna was only credited with three tackles against the Vandals but he made the most of those stops. Obinna had three tackles-for-loss, including a pair of sacks and forced a fumble. The TFLs and sacks were both single-game career highs for the defensive end.

Obinna ranked second on the team in 2016 with 4.5 sacks and was third with 6.0 TFLs.

Along with Obinna's pair, Sacramento State had sacks from Dre Terrell and Malcolm Thomas. The four total sacks were more than the team had in any of the 11 games a year ago.

BRINGING THE BOOM
Devon Medeiros has played two games against FBS opponents and has left his mark on both. Last season, Medeiros kicked a then-career long 44-yard field at Fresno State in the closing seconds of the first half. This past week, he put the Hornets up 3-0 with a 52-yarder in the Kibbie Dome.

Medeiros became the first Hornet to make a 50-plus yarder since Edgar Castaneda connected from 50 at Idaho State in 2012. His kick also tied him for second place in the Hornet record book, trailing only Scott Brown who had a 53-yarder against Eastern Washington in 1998. Chris Diniz had the last 52-yarder with a make at Stanford in 2010.

Medeiros also showcased his power on kickoffs, placing all three of his kicks into the end zone for touchbacks.

TAKING TURNS
With the graduation of Jordan Robinson and the move of Quincy Jountti to defense, the running back position was wide open for the Hornets heading into the season. Sacramento State's answer was a four-headed attack which each received carries against the Vandals.

Graduate transfer Joseph Ajeigbe earned the start and had a team-high 10 attempts during the game for 34 yards. Ajeigbe came to the Hornets from Duke where he had 319 career rushing yards and 76 receiving yards with the Blue Devils.

True freshman Elijah Dotson quickly joined the mix and led the team 46 yards on just five attempts. Dotson had a pair of runs of at least 20 yards and showed the explosiveness which made him an all-metro selection by The Sacramento Bee at Antelope HS. Dotson also was the team's primary kick returner where he had a 46-yard return and finished with 128 all-purpose yards.

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Gable had five carries for six yards and true freshman Christian Erickson carried the ball twice for three yards.

Redshirt freshman B.J. Perkinson did not play against the Vandals but could also join the crowded backfield for future games.

BIG DAY FOR DRE
Junior safety Dre Terrell had a couple of firsts in his performance at Idaho. Terrell recorded his first career interception with a highlight-reel pick in the end zone during the first quarter.

In the second quarter, he had a 7-yard sack for the first of his career.

Terrell finished the game with five tackles which was the second best total of his career. Last season, he had 22 tackles in eight games with two for loss.

HENNIE LEAVING HIS MARK
Senior Isiah Hennie is believed to be the first player in school history to return a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown in his career. Hennie had an 89-yard kickoff return against Menlo in 2014 and a 67-yard punt return against Eastern Oregon in 2015. He added a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown against Cal Poly in 2017.   Now Hennie is leaving his mark in the school's career receiving records.

Entering the game against Incarnate Word, Hennie is tied for 10th in school history with 103 career receptions. He went over the century mark with his first catch against Idaho last week. He finished the game with a team leading four receptions for 49 yards. The San Diego native is also close to moving into the top 20 in career receiving yards at Sacramento State.

Below is where Hennie ranks among the school's all-time leaders:
Career Receptions    Total    Needs
9. Mike Carter (1968-69)    110    7
10. Gary Austin, Jr. (1999-2002)    103    ---
      Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    103    ---
       Isiah Hennie (2014-pres.)    103    ---

Career Receiving Yards    Total    Needs
18. Bill Yurong (1965-67)    1,254    112
19. Chris Bowman (1969-71)    1,249    107
20. Zebedee Brye (1987-89)    1,233    91
--- Isiah Hennie (2014-pres.)    1,142    ---

PLENTY OF OPTIONS
Sacramento State has six quarterbacks on its roster and two made their collegiate debuts at Idaho. Kevin Thomson earned the start and completed 10-of-21 passes for 95 yards. Thomson also rushed for 11 net yards.

Thomson starred at Riverside HS in Auburn, Wash., before attending UNLV. He did not play a game with the Rebels, missing all of 2015 and 2016 with injuries.  His appearance against the Vandals was his first live action since his senior season in 2014.

JC transfer Wyatt Clapper came on in the fourth quarter and was 0-for-4 passing. Clapper, who quarterbacked Modesto JC to the Northern California championship game last season, was not helped by a couple of drops by Hornet receivers during the game.

Kolney Cassel is the only member of the six who has seen game action with Sacramento State. The senior began his collegiate career at SMU where he appeared in five games (starting against Texas A&M). With the Hornets, Cassel played in five games in 2015, including a start. He was limited to just one relief appearance last season due to injury.

The two are the only members of the team from the state of Washington and are two of just three players on the team (Steely Smith, Oregon) not from California.
The other three quarterbacks on the roster consist of redshirt freshman Roman Ale and true freshmen Jack Rice and Tristan Meyer.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE
Along with the six QBs, the Hornets also have eight other players who played the position in high school on the roster. Only two of those players still play on offense in receivers Alexis Robinson and Nolan Merker. The other six are members of the secondary in Earnest Jenkins, Dre Terrell, Abel Ordaz, Arthur Hayes, Marcus Kirkpatrick and Malik Jeter.

Ordaz led De La Salle to a berth in the California Open Division title game last season but now plays safety for the Hornets.

SORENSEN EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
Senior Ben Sorensen was named to the Preseason All-Big Sky football team. Sorensen was one of two defensive ends chosen to the team and one of 12 defensive players to earn preseason all-conference honors.

Sorensen was honorable mention all-Big Sky last season. He appeared in each of the team's 11 games, starting 10 at defensive end. The Clovis, Calif., native led the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks and finished the year with 42 total tackles. Sorensen also had five quarterback hurries, forced a team-high three fumbles and recovered a pair of fumbles. During the season, he had at least one tackle in all 11 games and had four or more in eight contests.

Sorensen, who did not play at Idaho, enters the season with 21 career tackles-for-loss and needs just three TFLs do crack the career top 10 list at Sacramento State. His 8.5 career sacks leaves him four shy of the 10 in the Hornet record book.

TRACK-RAMENTO STATE
The Sacramento State track & field program has established itself as one of the best in the Big Sky Conference. The men's team won the outdoor title in 2017 to give the Hornets their 19th men's or women's team championship since 2007.

Along with winning the team championship, several Hornets were able to finish first in individual competition. Two of those champions are also members of the Hornet football team in receivers Andre Lindsey and Darius Armstead.

Lindsey was the Big Sky champion in the 110-hurdles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA West Preliminary in the event. During the year, he ran 14.05 which ranks fifth in Sacramento State history. Last season, Lindsey played in six games before suffering an injury. He finished the year with eight receptions for 178 yards. His breakout performance came against Idaho State where he caught five passes for 149 yards.

Armstead shined in his first season at Sacramento State, winning the Big Sky title and setting the school record in the triple jump. His best jump of 53-feet, 1.5 inches ranked 14th nationally. Armstead last played football at Fresno City College in 2015.

Although not a member of the track team at Sacramento State, fellow receiver Alexis Robinson also shined on the track as a prep. As a junior at Eureka HS, Robinson placed second at the California state meet in the 400.

JUST THE FACTS
Sacramento State was picked to finish 12th by the Big Sky coaches and media in the preseason polls.

The Hornets have four players who have already earned their bachelor's degree and are currently pursuing a master's. The group is comprised of seniors Jon Bade, Stone Sander and Joseph Ajeigbe as well as junior Austin Clark. Clark earned his degree in just three academic years and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Sacramento State elected four captains for the 2017 season. WR Isiah Hennie, OL Jon Bade and DB Austin Clark all return for their second season as a captain. New this year is tight end Stone Sander.

After going by Manny Scott-Anderson during his first two years, the junior is now using the name Immanuel Anderson.
Sacramento State has three new coaches in 2017 in offensive coordinator Luke Huard, cornerbacks coach CJ Cox and safeties coach John Therrell. Defensive coordinator Sammy Lawanson moved from safeties to linebackers as well.