FOOTBALL TRAVELS TO No. 4 WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY

FOOTBALL TRAVELS TO No. 4 WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY

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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will face its stiffest challenge in over six years when the Hornets take on #4 Weber State on Saturday, Nov. 3. The game will kick off from Stewart Stadium at 11 a.m. PT — marking the earliest start time for Sacramento State this season.

The Hornets enter with a 2-6 overall record and are 0-5 in Big Sky Conference games. The team most recently suffered a 41-14 loss at home to Portland State. In the game, sophomore Elijah Dotson continued his dominance, recording his fifth consecutive 100-yard game and going over 1,000 yards for the season.

The Wildcats will be the second ranked opponent Sacramento State has faced this season. Weber State is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in league games with its lone loss in conference play coming at Northern Arizona (28-24). WSU is ranked fourth in the STATS poll and are fifth in the FCS coaches poll. The Hornets lost at then-No. 19 Montana, 41-34, when the Grizzlies were ranked 19th.

Fans can tune in to ESPN 1320 AM (this week only) 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 Tune-In app for mobile devices.

This week's game will also streamed on Pluto.TV and WatchBigSky. Steve Klauke and Jerry Graybeal will call the action.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: WEBER STATE
After starting the season with a loss at Utah, Weber State has recorded three-game winning streaks on both sides of its one conference loss. WSU has three wins over ranked opponents this year with victories over South Dakota (22nd), Eastern Washington (4th) and North Dakota (22nd).

Most recently in the win at North Dakota, quarterback Jake Constantine earned Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week honors. Constantine completed 27-of-41 passes for 318 yards three touchdowns and also ran for another.  This year, he's completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,134 yards with nine TDs and six xinterceptions.

Freshman Josh Davis is the team's leading rusher. Davis ranks third in the Big Sky at 115.1 yards per game and has  rushed for five touchdowns this season.

The Wildcat defense leads the Big Sky in total defense (332.4 ypg) and is second in scoring defense (23.0 ppg).  Linebacker LeGrand Toia paces the team 54 total tackles, including 8.0 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Head coach Jay Hill also serves as the team's defensive coordinator.

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
When Mister Harriel recorded a pair of interceptions at San Diego State on Sept. 8, it gave Sacramento State two picks over the first two weeks of the year. Those two interceptions ended up being the only ones for the Hornets for the next four games.

Allen Perryman stopped the dry spell with an interception against North Dakota. Perryman recorded his first career interception when he jumped stepped in front of former teammate Nate Ketteringham's throw.

Marcus Kirkpatrick gave the team two INTs in as many weeks when he recorded an interception in the end zone against Portland State. Like Perryman, Kirkpatrick also tallied his first career takeway.

Last season, Sacramento State had 14 interceptions as a team in 11 games. Cornerback Dre Terrell led the Hornets with five INTs, Harriel had three and Malcolm Thomas finished with two.

THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
Sacramento State again turned to the big play to spark its offense in the game against Portland State. The Hornets scored on a 45-yard pass to Pierre Williams in the first half and later received an 83-yard rush from Elijah Dotson.

This season, the team has five rushing touchdowns and three passing scores of at least 50 yards. Dotson has done most of the damage, accounting for all five rushing TDs. The sophomore has eight carries and two receptions of 25-plus yards.

Dotson's 83-yard touchdown run against PSU was his career best. It was also the longest by a Hornet since Ryan Mole travelled 87 yards for a TD against Montana State on Nov. 13, 2004.

The big play has also been a thorn in the side of the Hornet defense. The team has allowed 13 plays of 50-plus yards comprised of nine rushes, two receptions, a kick return and a punt return.

THE WAY THE BALL BOUNCES
Sacramento State has not put the ball on the deck too often but when it has, it has not been able to get it back. The Hornets have just four fumbles this year through eight games but has lost all four.

Conversely, the Sacramento State defense has also been opportunistic. The unit has recovered five fumbles in seven opportunities. The two the team has not been able to corral have both come on dropped snaps by the quarterback in the backfield.

Last season, Sacramento State had a nose for the football on both sides. The Hornets coughed the ball up 11 times on offense but only lost possession four times. On defense, the team was able to turn 14 opponent fumbles into nine turnovers.

CLOSING IN ON HORNET ROYALTY
Elijah Dotson recorded his fifth consecutive 100-yard game after carrying the ball 19 times for 183 yards against Portland State. Dotson became the first Hornet to have five straight games over the century mark since Bryan Hilliard performed the feat six times in 2010.

The sophomore started the streak at Montana where he had a career high 234 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. He became the first Hornet to go over 200 rushing yards in a game since Jordan Robinson had 262 against Portland State in Nov. 12, 2016. Overall, his 234 yards were the 16th most in school history.

He followed that effort with identical performances against Cal Poly and at Southern Utah where he had 22 attempts for 149 yards and a TD. Dotson pushed the streak to four with 140 yards against North Dakota.

During the five games, Dotson has carried the ball 104 times for 855 yards and six touchdowns. Amazingly, he has been stopped for just 19 negative yards during the stretch and is averaging. 8.22 yards per attempt while scoring six times.

Dotson's five consecutive 100-yard game places him among some of the elite runners in school history. Below is a list of the longest 100-yard streaks in school history:

Consecutive 100-yard games    Dates    Games
Charles Roberts     Sept. 5, 1998-Oct. 2, 1999    16
Troy Mills     Aug. 31-Nov. 16, 1991    10
Charles Roberts     Oct. 16, 1999-Sept. 30, 2000    7
Bryan Hilliard     Sept. 11-Oct. 23, 2010    6
Elijah Dotson     Sept. 22, 2018-pres.    5

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Dotson is now fourth in the FCS in rushing yards (1,058)and fifth in yards per game (132.2). Along with his rushing total, he added a 38-yard reception against Portland State to give him 1,213 all-purpose yards this year. That total ranks ninth nationally and second in the Big Sky.

In conference games only, Dotson leads the Big Sky with 171.0 yards per game. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in all five games and has scored six touchdowns in that span which ranks third in the league.

Last weekend, Dotson became the Hornet to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since Hilliard in 2008 (1,082) and is only the fourth Sacramento State player to do so as a freshman or sophomore. Hilliard did it as a sophomore, Charles Roberts rushed for a then NCAA record 2,260 yards as a sophomore in 1998 and Donald Hair posted a school freshman record of 1,097 in 1985.

As a true freshman, he led Sacramento State with 1,107 all-purpose yards last season. He is again pacing the team with 836 yards through the initial six games of 2018.

Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:
Career Rushing Yards    Total    Needs
8. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    1,906    373
9. Ryan Mole (2004-05)    1,626    93
10. Mark Schultz (1984-85)    1,571    38
11. George Sula (1974-75)    1,541    8
12. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    1,533    ---

Career Yards Per Carry        Avg.
1. Rob Harrison (1985-86)        7.05
2. Troy Mills (1990-91)        6.50
3. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)        6.38

Single Season Rushing    Total    Needs
5. Rob Harrison (1986)    1,334    276
6. Michael Stewart (1995)    1,161    103
7. John Farley (1982)    1,137    79
8. Troy Mills (1990)    1,103    45
9. Donald Hair (1985)    1,097    39
10. George Sula (1974)    1,084    26
11. Elijah Dotson (2018)    1,058    ---

PIERRE TO THE RESCUE
With seniors Andre Lindsey and Jaelin Ratliff out of the lineup against Portland State, freshman Pierre Williams became the primary target in the Hornet offense. Williams was the only wide receiver to catch a pass in the game and set career highs with six receptions and 89 yards against the Vikings.

The Patterson, Calif., native now leads the team with 25 receptions, 442 yards and four touchdowns. Williams has also been the recipient of both of Wyatt Clapper's touchdown passes this season. The first was a 41-yard pass at Southern Utah and the second was the 45-yard catch-and-run against PSU.

Williams redshirted last season but caused fits for the Hornet defense throughout the year with his work in practice. That effort earned him the team's Offensive Scout Team MVP at the team's annual banquet.

ARMS RACE
Sacramento State is not alone in having to deal with quarterback injuries. However, the Hornets may be the only team to feature six QBs on the roster who have taken snaps for the team.

Senior Kevin Thomson had been the starter through the first six games. Thomson threw for 1,253 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception before being injured at Southern Utah.

When Thomson was hurt, senior Wyatt Clapper took over at SUU and earned the start last week against North Dakota. Clapper threw and rushed for a score against the T-Birds and finished the game against UND going 12-of-22 for 119 yards with an interception. He also played in the season opener against Saint Francis where he completed 7-of-11 passes for 148 yards and was 1-for-2 at San Diego State.

Redshirt freshman Jack Rice made his career debut against Saint Francis where he completed 2-of-3 passes for 30 yards and also rushed for 43 yards. Rice suffered a pectoral tear a couple of weeks back taking him out of the rotation.

The two newest members of the QB club are Tristen Meyer and Hamish McClure. Meyer, a redshirt freshman, did not connect on his two attempts late in the fourth quarter against North Dakota. McClure, a true freshman,  has played in the last two games and owns 11 rushing yards. Both Meyer and McClure have a football pedigree. Meyer's brother, Erik, was a Walter Payton Award winner at Eastern Washington. McClure's father, Angus, played and coached for the Hornets and is currently the associate head coach at Nevada.
Roman Ale, who started three games a year ago for Sacramento State, is out for the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered last year. Ale was 31-of-57 for 491 yards with five TDs and one interception.

Along with the six QBs, cornerback Dre Terrell has also attempted a pass for the team this year.

AN EVER GROWING LIST
After injuries ravaged the defense for the first half of the year, the offense appears to be closing the gap with recent setbacks. While head coach Jody Sears has repeatedly argued that all teams endure injuries and the team can't make excuses, we'll leave you with these facts.

Preseason All-American and all-Big Sky selection George Obinna was injured against Saint Francis during the first defensive series. He returned two weeks later only to suffer a different season ending ankle injury. Under the new NCAA hardship rules, Obinna will be eligible to return for a sixth year next season.

Marcus Bruce, who was a third team all-Big Sky selection last year, missed the first five games with a broken wrist suffered during training camp. Bruce has played in the last two games and could play in two more and still redshirt this season.

After leading the team with five interceptions last season, Dre Terrell earned third team all-Big Sky honors. The senior was injured in the days prior to the San Diego State game, missed two games, and has seen limited action in his return.

Defensive end Killian Rosko missed the first five games of the year with a knee injury.

Linebacker Elijah Wallace suffered a concussion at Northern Colorado and will not return this season.

After playing hurt the past few weeks, linebacker Immanuel Anderson missed the game against UND.

Fellow linebackers Kevin McKinney (knee) and Miguel Garcia (ankle) are also lost for the year. McKinney was injured at Northern Colorado while Garcia went down at San Diego State.

Defensive end Sione Liku (elbow) and linebacker Marte Mapu (hand) have missed five and four games, respectively. Safety Austin Clark was also forced to retire prior to the season after complications from a hand injury which was suffered last season.

Defensive back Dhaamir Lomax became the most recent addition to the defensive list. Lomax suffered a broken leg in the fourth quarter against PSU which required season ending surgery.

On offense, senior guard Wyatt Ming suffered a broken leg against Saint Francis and has not returned to action. Reserve center Brandon Boccaleoni missed the first four games and has since taken over the starting role from Ivan Espiritu who did not play against UND.

Running back Bryant Perkinson has missed three games with a pair of injuries. Freshman Montaz Thompson was also sidelined for five games with an injury in the season opener.
After a limited role at Southern Utah, all-Big Sky wide receiver Andre Lindsey did not play against North Dakota. He was joined on the sideline by Jaelin Ratliff who was injured during the first offensive drive of the game.

Fellow wide receivers Nolan Merker (knee) and Isaiah Capooccia (ankle) were both lost prior to the season beginning.

Rounding out the group of the wounded is quarterback Kevin Thomson who has not seen action since the first quarter of the Southern Utah game.

ANDERSON, PEARSON CLIMB THE LIST
The linebacking duo of Immanuel Anderson and Manoah Pearson both moved into the top 20 in school history in career tackles last season. The pair has started games since their freshman seasons and are both poised to end their career among the best in school history.

Anderson is currently seventh on the all-time list with 289 tackles. The senior began his career as a safety before taking over the rover position last season. He led the team with 107 tackles in 2016 and added 59 a year ago, including 10 for loss. The Vallejo, Calif., native has recorded a tackle in all 35 games of his career and has nine games with 10-plus stops.
Pearson now has 245 stops to rank 11th. The Carson, Calif., native has made at least 52 tackles each season. He earned honorable mention all-Big Sky last season and has seven career games with double digit tackles.

Below is where Anderson and Pearson rank among the school's all-time leaders:
Career Tackles    Total    Needs
6. Matt Logue (2002-05)    306    17
7. Immanuel Anderson (2015-pres.)    289    ---
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9. Mike Brannon (2005-08)    258    13
10. Brent Webber (2004-07)    249    4
11. Manoah Pearson (2015-pres.)    245    ---

QUICK HITTERS
After making two field goals in four straight games, Devon Medeiros did not attempt one against Portland State. Medeiros has 26 career field goals which ties him for third in school history.

Allen Perryman's return of a dropped snap on PAT for a defensive two-point conversion was the first for the Hornets since Dan Leshore in 1990.

Sacramento State recorded at least two sacks in 15 consecutive games dating back to the start of last season. The team has tallied just two total in the last four games combined.
Prior to this season, the Hornets had never allowed the same point total to an opponent more than three times in a year.