A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will play its final home game of the 2018 season on Saturday, Nov. 10, when the Hornets welcome Northern Arizona to Hornet Stadium. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. and will feature a ceremony honoring the team's seniors prior to the start of the contest.
Sacramento State most recently lost at No. 4 Weber State, 26-14, last Saturday in Ogden, Utah. The Hornets were limited to 170 yards of total offense but found the end zone via a defensive touchdown and a rush from freshman quarterback Hamish McClure.
The team has been victorious in its home finale in three of the last four years. Last season, Sacramento State defeated UC Davis, 52-47, to finish the year 5-1 at Hornet Stadium — its best record in program history. The Hornets are 1-3 this year with its lone win coming against Saint Francis in the season opener.
Fans can tune in to ESPN 1320 AM 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 be televised locally on CW31 and streamed on Pluto.TV and WatchBigSky. Dave Lewis and Aaron Garcia return to call the action.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: NORTHERN ARIZONA
Much like Sacramento State, Northern Arizona had its hopes dashed by numerous injuries in 2018. The Lumberjacks lost quarterback Case Cookus in the second week of the season against Eastern Washington. Since that point, the team has started three others under center.
NAU dropped to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in league games with a 42-20 loss at UC Davis last Saturday. The Lumberjacks are the only team this season to have to make consecutive trips to Sacramento this year. In fact, Northern Arizona is the only school to play at UC Davis and Sacramento State in 2018.
No matter who's been the quarterback, All-American wide receiver Emmanuel Butler has continued to shine. Butler hauled in his 32nd career touchdown catch in the loss at UC Davis. He enters this week with 185 receptions for 3,152 career yards.
The Lumberjacks lead the Big Sky and are tied for third in the FCS with 15 interceptions. Kam'ron Johnson paces the team with four picks and Khalil Dorsey has three.
Currently in his 21st season, Jerome Souers is the longest tenured coach in the Big Sky. Souers staff also features former Montana head coach Robin Pflugrad and his son, Aaron, who is the offensive coordinator.
SENIOR SEND OFF
Prior to Saturday's game, Sacramento State will honor 19 seniors who will be playing their final game at Hornet Stadium.
Among the seniors are 14 who played their entire collegiate career at Sacramento State.
Five have earned all-Big Sky honors comprised of safety Mister Harriel, wide receiver Andre Lindsey, cornerback Dre Terrell and linebackers Immanuel Anderson and Manoah Pearson.
The class could be larger if it were not for the rash of injuries that has inflicted the team this year. Quarterback Kevin Thomson, linebacker Marcus Bruce, offensive lineman Wyatt Ming, kicker Devon Medeiros and defensive end George Obinna are all listed as seniors but will have the option to return next year.
Below is a complete list of the 2018 senior class:
|1||Owen Hoolihan||P||Oberon, Australia|
|2||Mister Harriel||DB||Sacramento, Calif.|
|6||Marcus Kirkpatrick||DB||Lake Elsinore, Calif.|
|7||Andre Lindsey||WR||Stockton, Calif.|
|9||Malcolm Thomas||LB||Roseville, Calif.|
|12||Damon Jackson||WR||Tracy, Calif.|
|13||Jaelin Ratliff||WR||Stockton, Calif.|
|14||Wyatt Clapper||QB||Manteca, Calif.|
|23||Dre Terrell||DB||Elk Grove, Calif.|
|29||Immanuel Anderson||LB||Vallejo, Calif.|
|36||Elijah Wallace||LB||Victorville, Calif.|
|51||Taylor Tappin||OL||Windsor, Calif.|
|52||Leonard Hazewood IV||DL||Sacramento, Calif.|
|53||Ivan Espiritu||OL||Reedley, Calif.|
|55||Manoah Pearson||LB||Carson, Calif.|
|74||Ruben Meza||OL||Murrieta, Calif.|
|82||Alexis Robinson||WR||Eureka, Calif.|
|Austin Clark||DB||Cottonwood, Calif.|
|Nolan Merker||WR||Elk Grove, Calif.|
Sacramento State's pair of graduate transfers both made impacts in the team's game at Weber State. Defensive end Leonard Hazewood IV scored the first points for the team when he scooped up a fumble and sprinted 33 yards for a touchdown. The fumble was created off a sack by freshman Armon Bailey who jarred the ball loose from quarterback Jake Constantine. The fumble recovery was the first for Hazewood during his collegiate career at either Idaho or Sacramento State.
Hazewood's touchdown return was the first non-offensive score the team this season. It was also the first fumble return for any yardage this season in six recoveries.
Punter Owen Hoolihan was pressed into extra duty as he covered for injured kicker Devon Medeiros. Hoolihan made both his extra point attempts and also kicked off for the team where he averaged 63.0 yards. The Australia native did miss his one field goal attempt as he sailed a 47-yarder wide right. Along with the kicking chore, Hoolihan also punted eight times during the game with an average of 42.4 yards per punt and a long of 59.
TURNOVERS STARTING TO TURN
A clean sheet for the offense and two takeaways for the defense increased Sacramento State's turnover margin to plus-three on the season. The two takeaways gives the team four in the last three games and all four were the first by the respective players.
As previously discussed, Armon Bailey and Leonard Hazewood IV combined on the first turnover. Bailey sacked quarterback Jake Constantine and Hazewood took care of the rest travelling 33 yards for the score.
The Hornets' last non-offensive touchdown came on Nov. 11, 2017 at Cal Poly when Marcus Bruce landed on a fumble in the end zone and Earnest Jenkins returned a blocked kick for a score.
The team's second takeway against Weber State came from sophomore Daron Bland who picked off a past along the sideline inside the red zone and brought it past midfield with an elusive 47-yard return. The play marked the longest interception return for the Hornets since Darnell Sankey scored on a 59-yarder at Incarnate Word to start the 2014 season.
Allen Perryman started the streak 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.
Prior to the last three games, Sacramento State's only other interceptions came at San Diego State where Mister Harriel recorded two picks against the Aztecs.
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.
BARNES REMAINS ON TOP
Caelan Barnes has been the team's leading tackler for most of the year and the junior added to his tally with a team-high nine stops at Weber State.
The junior has started each game this season and leads the team with 68 tackles. Barnes has at least five tackles in all nine games. He recorded 10 stops against Cal Poly and Southern Utah for his career high and had nine tackles against San Diego State and WSU.
Prior to this year, Barnes totaled 54 tackles in his first two years combined. He had 26 stops as a freshman, where he started six games at cornerback, and added 84 last season
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE
Freshmen and sophomores accounted for 85.8 percent of the team's total offense at Weber State. Sophomores Elijah Dotson (35), Isaiah Gable (11) and Bryant Perkinson (10) combined with true freshman Hamish McClure (18) for 74 yards on the ground. The quartet actually had more yards than the team total as senior Wyatt Clapper finished with minus-2 yards during the game.
Sacramento State's leading receivers were redshirt freshman Pierre Williams and true freshman Tao McClinton. Williams caught three passes for 46 yards and McClinton hauled in his first two receptions for 26 yards.
McClure played the final offensive series and led the Hornets on a touchdown drive. The Encino, Calif., native had five rushes during the drive, including a 13-yard touchdown. He also connected with Williams for an 11-yard gain on his first career completion.
Defensively, 10 underclassmen made tackles during the game. The group were led by Daron Bland who had career-high tying seven tackles and intercepted a pass.
DOTSON EARNS A SPOT WITH THE BEST
Elijah Dotson had his streak of five consecutive 100-yard games come to a close after he was limited to a season low 35 yards on 18 carries at Weber State. The only other time Dotson was held under 80 yards this year was at San Diego State which limited him to 37.
Dotson carried the ball 19 times for 183 yards against Portland State and 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 carried the ball 104 times for 855 yards and six touchdowns and averaged 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-Oct. 27, 2018 5
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Dotson is now fifth in the FCS in rushing yards (1,093)and seventh in yards per game (121.4). He also has 159 receiving yards this season giving him 1,252 all-purpose yards this year. That total ranks 15th nationally and third in the Big Sky.
In conference games only, Dotson is second in the Big Sky with 148.3 yards per game. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in five of the six games and has scored six touchdowns in that span which ranks third in the league.
Against Portland State, Dotson became the first 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 1,252 yards through this season.
Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:
Career Rushing Yards Total Needs
8. Garrett Safron (2011-14) 1,906 338
9. Ryan Mole (2004-05) 1,626 58
10. Mark Schultz (1984-85) 1,571 3
11. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 1,568 ---
Single Season Rushing Total Needs
5. Rob Harrison (1986) 1,334 241
6. Michael Stewart (1995) 1,161 68
7. John Farley (1982) 1,137 44
8. Troy Mills (1990) 1,103 10
9. Donald Hair (1985) 1,097 4
10. Elijah Dotson (2018) 1,093 ---
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 the last three weeks. 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 three games. 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.
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 296 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 10
7. Immanuel Anderson (2015-pres.) 296 ---
9. Mike Brannon (2005-08) 258 13
10. Brent Webber (2004-07) 249 4
11. Manoah Pearson (2015-pres.) 245 ---
Jaelin Ratliff will end his career ranked sixth in school history with 1, 725 yards. Ratliff likely would have finished fourth had he not missed the last few games.
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 three total in the next five games combined.
Defensive tackle Seperine Aumua and offensive tackle Taylor Tappin are the only two players on the team with consecutive start streaks which extend prior to the start of last season. Aumua has started 31 consecutive games while Tappin is riding a 24-game streak.