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A BRIEF PREVIEW
Following a week off, the Sacramento State football team returns to Hornet Stadium to host Idaho State on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m. The game will serve as the University's Homecoming contest.
The Hornets are 2-3 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky Conference games after suffering a 52-31 loss at then-No. 9 Eastern Washington on Sept. 30. The team enjoyed its lone bye weekend of the season this past Saturday and will close the year with six games over the next six weeks.
In the four games against FCS opponents this season, Sacramento State is averaging 41.25 points. The team's output is even more impressive in wins where it has averaged 55.0 points per game.
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.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: IDAHO STATE
Idaho State dropped to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big Sky games following a 39-31 loss to Montana at Holt Arena. The Bengals amassed 532 total yards and Montana finished with 519. Tanner Gueller was 25-of-40 for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Mitch Gueller had a career-high 188 receiving yards on nine receptions and two touchdowns.
ISU has the lone win by a Big Sky school over an FBS opponent this season as the team knocked off Nevada, 30-28, on Sept. 16 in Reno, Nev. The team also victories over Western Oregon and Cal Poly. Despite being 1-2 in league games, Idaho State has had a second-half lead in all three games.
Tanner Gueller has been the key to the Bengal offense this season. The senior has thrown for 1,704 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite targets have been converted running back Michael Dean (27 receptions, 436 yards, 5 TDs) and Hagen Graves (18 rec., 303 yards, TD). James Madison is the team's leading rusher with 92 attempts for 510 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Bengals have allowed 478.0 yards per game. Mario Jenkins leads the Big Sky with 72 total tackles (12.0 per game). Jenkins has 6.0 tackles-for-loss, including 1.5 sacks.
For the second consecutive game, Sacramento State will face a first-year head coach. Rob Phenicie was named the head coach at ISU in March after two years as an assistant with the team.
Sacramento State is 6-4 in its last 10 Homecoming games. The Hornets have defeated Idaho State twice on Homecoming during that stretch. The first time came in 2009 where the team won 38-17 behind 178 rushing yards from Terrance Dailey. In 2015, Sacramento State had five interceptions en route to a 38-13 victory.
Many departments on campus will have booths set up during the pregame sharing their efforts during the last year.
The annual golf cart float parade will take place at halftime as well as the announcement of the Homecoming royalty.
The game will also feature a fireworks show at the end of the game.
WHO NEEDS REST?
While the players undoubtedly enjoyed having a weekend off in order to heal the bumps and bruises of the season, the week off has not proved to be successful for Sacramento State in recent memory. Until last season's 42-34 win over Portland State, the Hornets had not been victorious in a game immediately following a bye since upsetting No. 12 Idaho State, 47-21, on Sept. 27, 2003.
In Sacramento State's defense, the team has faced a ranked opponent in seven of those 11 games, including three which were in the top 10.
Last season, the Hornets rallied behind Jordan Robinson's 262 rushing yards and four touchdowns to hold off PSU. The Vikings had a chance to tie the game on the final drive but had their fourth-down pass sail over the head of the receiver in the end zone.
The Hornets did have a pair of overtime losses during the stretch, falling at home against Montana (51-48) in 2013 and Eastern Washington (42-35) in 2011.
The team did not have a bye in 2004 or 2005.
THOMSON CONTINUES TO RUN AWAY
A week after rushing for four touchdowns and earning FCS National Offensive Player of the Week, quarterback Kevin Thomson added three more rushing touchdowns at Eastern Washington.
Thomson has now rushed for 270 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games while averaging 9.3 yards per carry. The junior is now the team's leading rusher with 337 yards on the season and is the only player on the roster to rush for at least three TDs. His average of 67.4 rushing yards per game places him 10th in the Big Sky for all games while his mark of 135.0 in conference games is the second best in the league.
Thomson became the first Hornet QB to have consecutive 100-yard games in school history and joins Garrett Safron as the only Sacramento State signal callers to have multiple 100-yard rushing games in their careers. Safron had four games over the century mark during his career from 2011-14.
Ricky Ray holds the Sacramento State single-season record with 10 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. Ray set that mark in 2000 with many coming on short quarterback sneaks.
What has set Thomson apart has been his ability to break the big play. The Auburn, Wash., native has had a 59-yard and 54-yard TD run in the last two games.
HELP IN NUMBERS
Sacramento State finished the game at Eastern Washington with 307 rushing yards. That performance followed a 333-yard effort in the win against Southern Utah marking the first time the Hornets had back-to-back 300-yard rushing games since 2007. That year, the team closed the season with 312 at Northern Colorado on Nov. 10 and 335 against Idaho State on Nov. 17.
The two games this year have come at the start of Big Sky play and place Sacramento State atop the league leaders in rushing yards per game. The Hornets are averaging 320.0 rushing yards per game to edge Montana State (319.3) for the top honor. Cal Poly, which is a fixture among the league leaders, is currently third at 261.0.
Overall, Sacramento State is fifth in the Big Sky and 32nd nationally at 196.6 rushing yards per game. The team has not averaged 200 rushing yards per game since 2000 when it finished the year at 207.9.
A pair of redshirt freshmen have also been pivotal to the team's recent success. BJ Perkinson made his collegiate debut against SU and finished with 14 carries for 72 yards. Perkinson, who moved from wide receiver to running back after last season, provided some punishing runs and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt. He added 35 yards on 10 carries at EWU to give him 107 yards in the two games.
Fellow redshirt freshman Isaiah Gable showcased his elusiveness with 68 yards on 10 attempts (6.8 per carry) against the T-Birds. He produced 89 yards on 14 carries against Eastern Washington. Gable, who measures 5-foot-4, 140 pounds, was the team's scout team player of the year last season as a redshirt.
Senior Joseph Ajeigbe rushed for a career high 56 yards against the Eagles. Ajeigbe had a 32-yard burst during the game and also scored on a 2-yard TD run up the middle.
None of the players who carried the ball against Southern Utah and EWU had a rushing attempt for the Hornets last season.
The 333 rushing yards against Southern Utah were the sixth most in the school's Div. I history and the most since 335 against Idaho State in 2007. The 59 carries are tied for the second most by a Hornet team.
Making the total more impressive is the fact that the 333 rushing yards came against a Southern Utah defense which entered the game having allowed 123.7 rushing yards per game and had held nationally-ranked Northern Iowa to minus-18 yards the previous week.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DIGITS
Safeties Mister Harriel and Austin Clark tied for the team lead with 11 tackles each at Eastern Washington. The game marked the first time this season that the Hornets have had multiple players with double digit tackles.
Harriel leads the team with 44 total tackles. The Sacramento native is also second on the squad with 4.0 tackles-for-loss and two interceptions. Earlier this season, he set his career high with 16 tackles against Weber State. Prior to this season, the junior had never had more than 10 tackles in a season.
Clark added his third consecutive game with 10-plus tackles. The junior had 10 tackles against Weber State and a season-high 12 stops against Southern Utah before tallying 11 at EWU. Clark, who redshirted last season, is second on the team with 43 total tackles. That number has already surpassed his total of 37 from his freshman season and is close to his mark of 51 from 2015.
THEY'RE GOING THE DISTANCE
Sacramento State has three players who are averaging at least 20 yards per reception this season in wide receivers Andre Lindsey and Jaelin Ratliff and tight end Stone Sander.
Lindsey ranks second in the Big Sky and is third in the FCS with an average of 31.25 yards per catch. The junior caught one pass at EWU for a 39-yard completion. His average places him less than a yard per catch behind Weber State's Rashid Shadeed (31.91) and Bob Pugh of Indiana State (31.43) for the FCS lead.
Earlier this year, Lindsey set a career high and recorded the 15th best receiving game in school history with 176 receiving yards on only four receptions for an average of 44.0 yards per grab against Incarnate Word.
Lindsey is also a member of the Sacramento State track & field team where he was the Big Sky champion in the 110-hurdles.
Ratliff is averaging 23.3 yards per catch which places him eighth nationally. He caught seven passes at EWU for 142 yards (20.3 ypc). Many of those yards came on the final drive of the game where he had consecutive 22-yard receptions.
Ratliff now has three 100-yard games in his career. His previous high had been 116 yards against Cal Poly in 2015.
Lindsey and Ratliff, who are both from Stockton, Calif., have combined for 25 receptions this year with 21 going for either first downs or touchdowns.
Sander has not been targeted much during his career but has made the most of his opportunities. The senior has four receptions and is averaging 24.5 yards per catch. Sander has nearly had touchdowns in the last two games but has been stopped just shy of the goal line in both games.
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 2016. Now Hennie is leaving his mark in the school's career receiving records.
Entering the game against Eastern Washington, Hennie is sixth in school history with 115 career receptions. The San Diego native has also moved 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
4. Shane Harrison (2011-15) 134 19
5. Lamont Webb (1997-2000) 117 2
6. Isiah Hennie (2014-pres.) 115 ---
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
12. Ron Weaver (1988-89) 1,371 91
13. Tom Jones (1969-71) 1,334 54
14. Brandyn Reed (2009-11) 1,299 19
15. Chase Deadder (2008-11) 1,298 18
16. Lin Klinkhammer (1985-86) 1,282 2
Carlos Smith (1996-97) 1,282 2
18. Isiah Hennie (2014-pres.) 1,280 ---
NEW NAME, SAME RESULTS
Junior Immanuel Anderson (formerly known as Manny Scott-Anderson) may be going by a new name but continues to add to his career tackles total. Anderson had six tackles at EWU and continues is climb up the school's career tackle list.
Anderson has started 26 of the 27 games in his career. Last season, he led the team with 107 total tackles which placed him second in the Big Sky during the regular season and 10th in school single-season history.
Below is where Anderson ranks among the school's all-time leaders:
Career Tackles Total Needs
11. Camron Mbewa (2000-03) 236 31
12. Ramon Payne (2001-04) 212 7
13. Carlos Williams (1996-99) 210 5
14. Jeff Badger (2009-12) 206 1
15. Immanuel Anderson (2015-17) 205 ---
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