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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will play at Hornet Stadium for just the second time in the last five weeks when it hosts Northern Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. The game against the Bears will also include postgame fireworks (weather permitting).
The Hornets are 4-4 overall and 3-2 in Big Sky Conference play after suffering a 37-17 loss at No. 24 Northern Arizona on Saturday in Flagstaff, Ariz. Joseph Ajeigbe rushed for a career-high 119 yards but the team was limited to 233 yards of total offense against the Lumberjacks.
Sacramento State is 3-1 at home this season and a victory over the Bears would guarantee the team at least a .500 record in Big Sky games for the seventh time in program history.
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.
Eleven Sports will also televise the game to a national audience. The broadcast crew will be comprised of Bill Doleman (play-by-play) and Darius Walker (color).
OPPONENT PREVIEW: NORTHERN COLORADO
Northern Colorado dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in Big Sky games with a 27-14 loss to Southern Utah. The Bears fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter and were never able to get closer than six points during the contest. UNC threw for 392 yards against the T-Birds but were limited to 38 rushing yards.
Northern Colorado has won a game (Idaho State) and last one (Montana State) on a last second field goal. The team also had its game at Florida cancelled due to the hurricanes in September.
Conor Regan has led Northern Colorado after replacing the injured Jacob Knipp at quarterback. Alex Wesley has been the favorite target of both QBs, having caught 40 passes for 705 yards and three touchdowns (100.5 ypg).
The Bears have been fairly balanced on defense with three players recording at least 50 tackles this season. Stone Kane leads the team with 67 tackles and is tied for the team high with a pair of interceptions.
Earnest Collins, Jr., is in his seventh season as the team's head coach where he has a 23-51 overall record.
For the first time in three weeks, Sacramento State returns to Hornet Stadium this Saturday against Northern Colorado. The Hornets are 3-1 at home this season and have outscored their opponents, 175-101.
Sacramento State has won its last two home contests with wins over Southern Utah and Idaho State. The last time the Hornets won three consecutive home games in the same season was in 2000 when they defeated Weber State, Montana State and Cal State Northridge.
The team will play six home games this year, ending the season against UC Davis in the annual Causeway Classic on Nov. 18. Sacramento State had not played six home games in a season since 2013 when it went 2-4.
NEXT MAN UP
Coming into 2017, the only player on the Hornet roster who had carried the ball as a running back was Quincy Jountti. However, the sophomore was moved to safety during fall camp leaving Sacramento State without any experience in the backfield.
To fill the void, the Hornets have used the combination of senior Joseph Ajeigbe with freshmen Elijah Dotson, Isaiah Gable and BJ Perkinson. Adding to the attack has been quarterback Kevin Thomson who leads the team with 422 rushing yards and eight touchdowns despite playing in just six games.
Last weekend at Northern Arizona, Ajeigbe became the third Hornet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season. The graduate transfer from Duke had a career high 119 yards on 11 carries. He scored the team's first points of the game with a career long 71-yard touchdown run. Ajeigbe is now second on the team with 342 rushing yards and has scored four touchdowns.
The Riverside, Calif., native spent his first four collegiate seasons at Duke where had 319 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards for the Blue Devils. At Norco HS, he rushed for 1,505 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior and was a three-time all-league selection.
COMPLETING THE CREW
All four of the Hornet running backs along with Thomson have led the team in rushing in a game this season.
Perkinson had his best game against Idaho State where he had 155 rushing yards on 17 carries. He averaged 9.1 yards per carry against the Bengals and scored his first career touchdown.
Dotson led the backs in the first two games of the year with 46 yards at Idaho and 74 against Incarnate Word. He also had a team-high 57 at UND. The Antelope HS graduate was also the team's leading receiver at Northern Arizona, catching one pass for a 48-yard touchdown. Dotson six receptions on the season with a pair of touchdowns and is averaging 16.3 yards per catch.
Ajeigbe had a team-high 40 yards against Incarnate Word and 21 yards against Weber State. Gable posted a career high 89 yards at Eastern Washington.
In five conference games this season, The Hornets are averaging 255.0 rushing yards which ranks second in the Big Sky. Overall, Sacramento State is fourth in the Big Sky and 24th nationally at 202.3 rushing yards per game. The team has not averaged 200 rushing yards per game since 2000 when it finished the year at 207.9.
GET OFF THE FIELD
Despite limiting Northern Arizona to 4-of-16 on third down attempts which lowered its season average, the Sacramento State defense fell from first to second in the FCS this past week. The Hornets are now holding the opposition to 25.2 percent (29-of-115) which is easily the best in the Big Sky. That mark only trails McNeese which has an opponent third down percentage of 24.5 percent.
Northern Arizona tested the Hornets by going for it on fourth down five times. Sacramento State walked away with three stops, including one deep in the red zone in the first quarter.
The Hornets have been stingy on nearly all third down situations as they have held teams to under 50 percent success rate at every yard to gain with the exception of 3rd-and-2 (6-10) and 3rd-and-7 (3-4).
A big part of the defense's success has been its ability to get to the quarterback. Sacramento State recorded four sacks at Northern Arizona to extend its streak with at least two sacks to eight games.
The Hornets are now third in the FCS with 3.88 sacks per game. Yale leads the nation with 4.43 sacks per game and is followed by Grambling at 4.38.
Individually, George Obinna is fourth in the FCS and leads the Big Sky with 1.06 sacks per game. Ben Sorensen is second in the league and 12th nationally at 0.93 sacks per game. Dariyn Choates is tied for fifth in the Big Sky at 0.62 per game making the Hornets the only school in the league to have multiple players in the top five.
Obinna and Sorensen, linebacker Malcolm Thomas and defensive tackle Seperine Aumua were each credited with a sack at NAU.
Nine Hornets have a sack this season, including six with two or more. Sacramento State has 31 sacks which is two shy of the school's Div. I-era record which has occurred three times most recently in 2012. The overall school record of 53 came in 1986.
Junior Devon Medeiros nailed a 27-yard field goal at Northern Arizona for his 11th field goal of the year. Medeiros is now 11-of-14 on the season and has made a field goal in five consecutive games.
The Hilmar, Calif., native redshirted at Sacramento State in 2014 and appeared sparingly the following season where he was 0-of-3 on field goals. Last season, Medeiros won the kicking job out of camp and made a 44-yarder at Fresno State early in the year. However, he injured his leg just two games into the season and was unable to return.
Now healthy, Medeiros leads the team with 65 points (11 field goals, 32 extra points). He has also averaged 64.3 yards per kickoff with 33 touchbacks on 50 attempts.
Medeiros' last field goal moved him into a three-way tie for ninth place in Sacramento State single-season history. He needs just one more make to jump into a tie for seventh, two to move into a tie for third and three to match Brad Cornish (2014), Bret LeVier (2002) and Scott Brown who share the record with 14 field goals.
George Obinna and Ben Sorensen have proven successful at creating havoc from both ends of the defensive line of the last few years. Along with there ability to get to the quarterback, the duo have combined 19 tackles-for-loss, five quarterback hurries and have forced three fumbles.
Obinna is tied for fourth in school career history with 19.5 sacks and needs just 1.5 more to move into the Sacramento State single-season top 10. The junior played just one season of high school football at Tracy HS but has made the transition to college football seamlessly.
Along with his 8.5 sacks, he has a team-high 11.5 tackles-for-loss, has forced three fumbles and recovered one. He played just the second half against NAU but still managed three tackles with 2.5 TFLs.
Sorensen is one of the few seniors on the Hornet defense and has 15.0 career sacks which places him ninth in the Hornet record book. He also has 28.5 career tackles-for-loss to rank ninth in Sacramento State history.
Sacramento State entered last week ranked 13th in the FCS in fewest penalties per game and 18th in fewest penalty yards per game. The Hornets had only been called for 32 infractions totalling 297 yards in the first seven games.
Those numbers were crushed in the game at Northern Arizona as Sacramento State was flagged a season high 11 times for 103 yards. Those numbers dropped the team to 25th in both national categories.
The Hornets were not the only team racking up the penalty yards last Saturday as NAU was whistled for 13 penalties for 140 yards.
The last time Sacramento State had over 100 penalty yards in a game came against Cal Poly in 2014. The Hornets had not had more than 89 penalty yards this season — its only game above 55 yards prior to NAU. The team opened the year with just one flag for two yards at Idaho to set the school record.
March 8, 2018 REGISTRATION FOR BOB MATTOS GOLF CLASSIC NOW OPEN
February 7, 2018 FOOTBALL COMPLETES RECRUITING CLASS WITH 25 SIGNEES
January 29, 2018 JB HALL HIRED AS CORNERBACKS COACH
December 22, 2017 FOOTBALL CLASS CONTINUES TO GROW, NOW UP TO EIGHT SIGNEES
December 12, 2017 SORENSEN NAMED TO ASSOCIATED PRESS FCS ALL-AMERICA TEAM
December 4, 2017 MEDEIROS NAMED FINALIST FOR THE FRED MITCHELL AWARD
November 30, 2017 JODY SEARS AGREES TO MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION TO REMAIN HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
November 26, 2017 RICKY RAY WINS FOURTH GREY CUP, LEADS TORONTO TO COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN
November 22, 2017 JODY SEARS NAMED BIG SKY COACH OF THE YEAR
November 21, 2017 SORENSEN, OBINNA, HARRIEL HIGHLIGHT 14 PLAYERS NAMED ALL-BIG SKY
November 14, 2017 FOOTBALL READIES FOR 64TH ANNUAL CAUSEWAY CLASSIC ON SATURDAY
November 11, 2017 FOOTBALL BLOWS PAST CAL POLY, 49-14, GUARANTEES WINNING RECORD
November 7, 2017 FOOTBALL HEADS TO CAL POLY FOR FINAL ROAD GAME THIS SATURDAY
November 4, 2017 FOOTBALL PULLS AWAY FOR 50-21 WIN OVER NORTHERN COLORADO
October 28, 2017 FOOTBALL TOPPED BY NO. 24 NORTHERN ARIZONA. 37-17
October 24, 2017 FOOTBALL PLAYS AT NORTHERN ARIZONA ON SATURDAY IN FIRST-PLACE BATTLE
October 21, 2017 FOOTBALL WINS 34-27 AT NORTH DAKOTA
October 17, 2017 FOOTBALL SEARCHES FOR ROAD WIN AT NORTH DAKOTA ON SATURDAY
October 14, 2017 FOOTBALL TOPS IDAHO STATE, 41-21, ON HOMECOMING
October 10, 2017 HOMECOMING UP NEXT FOR FOOTBALL AGAINST IDAHO STATE ON SATURDAY
September 30, 2017 FOOTBALL OUTGUNNED BY No. 9 EASTERN WASHINGTON, 52-31
September 26, 2017 FOOTBALL TRAVELS TO No. 9 EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY
September 25, 2017 THOMSON NAMED FCS NATIONAL AND BIG SKY OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
September 23, 2017 FOOTBALL RUSHES TO 1-0 START IN BIG SKY WITH 54-27 WIN OVER SOUTHERN UTAH
September 19, 2017 FOOTBALL CAPS HOMESTAND AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH ON SATURDAY
September 16, 2017 FOOTBALL CAN'T OVERCOME EARLY DEFICIT IN 31-24 LOSS TO WEBER STATE
September 13, 2017 FOOTBALL CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
September 11, 2017 TERRELL NAMED FCS NATIONAL AND BIG SKY DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
September 9, 2017 FOOTBALL ROLLS TO 56-22 WIN OVER INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER
September 7, 2017 FOOTBALL GAMES TO FEATURE A BEER GARDEN IN 2017
September 5, 2017 FOOTBALL HOSTS INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER ON SATURDAY
August 31, 2017 FOOTBALL FALLS TO IDAHO, 28-6, IN SEASON OPENER
August 28, 2017 FOOTBALL STARTS 2017 AT IDAHO ON THURSDAY
August 17, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: JOSEPH AJEIGBE
August 12, 2017 NEWCOMERS SHOWCASED IN FIRST SCRIMMAGE OF CAMP
August 8, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: BEN SORENSEN
August 2, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: ISIAH HENNIE
July 31, 2017 NFL CAMPS OPEN WITH THREE HORNETS IN ATTENDANCE
July 18, 2017 Q&A WITH HEAD COACH JODY SEARS AT BIG SKY KICKOFF
June 19, 2017 FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES 2017 HALL OF FAME CLASS