A BRIEF PREVIEW
- After a record-breaking performance against Southern Oregon, the Sacramento State football team will have a much larger challenge this week as it travels to Arizona State for a Friday night contest at Sun Devil Stadium. The game against the Sun Devils will kick off at 7:07 p.m. with temperatures expected to be well above 100 degrees.
- Sacramento State will be facing a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since playing at Washington in 2015. That game was the last in a six-year stretch which saw the Hornets play at a Pac-12 school. During that run, Sacramento State went 2-4 with wins at Oregon State (29-28) in 2011 and Colorado (30-28) in 2012.
- The Hornets started their season with a 77-19 win at home against Southern Oregon on Saturday night. That performance set the school record for points and saw Sacramento State score touchdowns on its first seven possessions.
- There will be multiple ways to follow this week's game. Hornet 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.
- The game will also be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Guy Haberman (play-by-play), Lincoln Kennedy (color) and Cindy Brunson (sideline) on the call.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: ARIZONA STATE
- Arizona State jumped out to a 27-0 lead and defeated Kent State, 30-7, in its season opener last Thursday. ASU amassed 455 yards of total offense while limiting the Golden Flashes to 200. Jayden Daniels became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Sun Devils in the modern era and responded by throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 13 yards and a score.
- Eno Benjamin rushed for 102 yards to lead the Arizona State offense. Benjamin was the highest graded Pac-12 running back last season by Pro Football Focus.
- The Sun Devil defense is one of the stingiest in the nation. ASU held opponent under 30 points nine times last season while averaging 25.2 points against.
- Herm Edwards is in his second season as the Arizona State head coach. After a distinguished playing career in the NFL, Edwards began his coaching career in 1987 at San Jose State. He went on to be the head coach of the New York Jets (2001-05) and Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08). The staff also features NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Mawae and Super Bowl champion Antonio Pierce.
- Sacramento State set numerous school records in its 77-19 win over Southern Oregon last weekend.
- The 77 points broke the school record of 76 set against San Francisco on Nov. 16, 1968.
- The previous high for points scored in the team's Div. I era was 69 against Saint Mary's on Sept. 6, 2003.
- The record for points in a season opener was 55 set last season against Saint Francis (Ill.).
- The high mark for points scored in a coach's opening game at Sacramento State was 49 at Incarnate Word in 2014 (Jody Sears).
- The 28 points scored in the second quarter were the most for that period in the school's Div. I era.
- The 685 yards of total offense were the second most in school history and just nine yards shy of the record of 694 set against Montana State on Oct. 4, 2014.
- The 11 touchdowns broke the school record of nine which had been done against Southern Oregon in overtime in 2013 and against Saint Mary's in 2003.
- Sacramento State's average of 10.22 yards per play is the second most in the team's Div. I era.
- The team received interceptions by Allen Perryman, Marcus Hawkins, Daron Bland and Tykee Woods. The four interceptions tied the school's single-game record which had been done 10 previous times.
- The 345 rushing yards were the fifth most in program history and the most since 350 against Eastern Washington in 2002.
- Sacramento State converted a two-point conversion after its first touchdown when Kevin Thomson connected with tight end Marshel Martin. The score was the first successful offensive two-point conversion for the team since Sept. 24, 2016 at Idaho State.
THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
- Sacramento State wasted little time on most of its scoring drives against Southern Oregon. The team worked at an increased tempo throughout the summer with hopes of running the next play within 13 seconds of the previous one ending. That speed, coupled with large gains, led to frenetic pace last Saturday.
- The Hornets averaged a touchdown for every 6.09 offensive plays as the team needed just 67 offensive snaps to score its 11 TDs.
- The average scoring drive scoring drive lasted 5.45 plays and took just 2:04 off the clock. Those numbers were more staggering in the first half when the Sacramento State starters needed just 1:04 and 4.28 plays to score touchdowns on its first seven drives.
- Overall, the team had seven touchdown drives that took less than a two minutes and six which required six plays or less.
NOT JUST THE OFFENSE
- The Hornet defense was not to be outdone when it came to records. Sacramento State had four interceptions which tied the school single-game record for the Div. I era (1995-pres.).
- Allen Perryman, Marcus Hawkins, Daron Bland and Tykee Woods all came up with picks during the game. The interceptions for Perryman and Bland were the second of their careers while Hawkins and Woods each came up with one in their Sacramento State debut.
- To help put the four interceptions into perspective, the Hornets had five INTs all of last season which were turned into 70 return yards. On Saturday, the four picks resulted in 79 return yards with Bland taking one out of the end zone for 43 yards, Hawkins having a 22-yarder and Woods with a 14-yard return.
- The offense did have one turnover and the team's plus-3 turnover margin ties Sacramento State for fourth place in the FCS. Last year, the team finished 36th nationally with an average of plus-0.3 per game.
THROWING A SHUTOUT
- The revamped Sacramento State offensive line did it's job on Saturday, not allowing a sack in 23 pass attempts as well as helping the team rush for 345 yards.
- The group was comprised of returning starters Nick Bianco and Thomas Parker at left and right guard, respectively. Wyatt Ming returned to the unit after missing all but the first game last season due to a broken leg. Ming, who began his career as a defensive lineman, made his first career start at center. The team also had a pair of new tackles with Troy Stiefel and Brandon Weldon each earning their first career start.
- With the game out of reach, Sacramento State inserted Peter Vadasz, Paula Hafoka, Brandon Boccaleoni, Parker Kernek and Jordan Stanley (LT-RT). That group also did not allow a sack during the game.
- In the rushing game, the Hornets averaged 7.84 yards per carry which places them eighth in the FCS through the opening week. Sacramento State had 10 players carry the ball, including five with five or more attempts. Quarterback Kevin Thomson was the leading rusher with 90 yards on four attempts and a score. Ja'Narrick James (78 yards) and Marcus Fulcher (60) led the second half attack. BJ Perkinson and Elijah Dotson combined for 82 yards in limited first half action. Each of those five also found the end zone with Dotson rushing for two TDs and catching another.
PRIME PERFORMANCE FOR PIERRE
- Sophomore wide receiver Pierre Williams led Sacramento State with five receptions for 140 yards and three touchdowns against Southern Oregon. Williams had touchdowns of 54, 75 and 14 yards within the first 35 minutes of the game.
- The game marked his first career 100-yard performance and easily eclipsed his previous high of 89 set last season against Portland State.
Williams also scored multiple touchdowns for the first time in 11 career games. He was the first Hornet to haul in three TD passes since Shane Harrison against NAU in 2015. Williams' performance was the 15th three TD receiving game in school history.
- He also had one rush for 16 yards and a punt return for eight yards to finish with 164 all-purpose yards.
- Williams paced a group of seven Hornets who caught passes against Southern Oregon. Included in that were Isaiah Gable, Marshel Martin, Parker Clayton and Jeremiah Foster who each pulled in their first career reception at Sacramento State.
- Two years ago, Sacramento State ranked among the FCS leaders with 43 sacks. Last year, that number dipped to 13 and the team plummeted to 101st. One big reason for the fall was the loss of defensive end George Obinna who was limited to two games in 2018 after earning first team all-Big Sky honors in 2017.
- Obinna returned to the field on Saturday and tallied the team's first sack of the year. That sack raised his career total of 20.5 which gave him sole possession of fourth place in school history.
- The senior also added two tackles-for-loss and now sits in 10th place in program history with 29 career TFLs.
BUSY SUMMER FOR DOTSON
- Junior running back Elijah Dotson added to his already lengthy resume with a handful more accolades over the summer. A year after being named first team all-Big Sky and FCS Sophomore All-American, Dotson landed on the Big Sky preseason team and was a second team preseason All-American by HERO Sports and Phil Steele.
- Dotson started the season by rushing for 38 yards and two touchdowns and catching four passes for 72 yards and a score against SOU. The receptions total matched his career high while the yardage mark set a career best and including a career-long 59-yard TD.
- Dotson was the catalyst for the Sacramento State offense last season, leading the team with 1,154 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 1,314 all-purpose yards. He became the first Hornet running back to earn first team all-Big Sky honors since Charles Roberts who did it three years in a row (1998-2000). Dotson's average of 115.4 yards per game was the third highest in school history while his total of 1.154 yards placed him seventh despite the team playing on 10 games during the regular season. He also moved into fifth place in school history with an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
- Dotson's season was highlighted by a five-game stretch at the start of conference play which saw him rush for over 100 yards in each game. He started the streak with 234 yards and three TDs at Montana and followed with identical 149 yards and one TD performances against Cal Poly and Southern Utah. Dotson continued his streak with 140 yards and a score against North Dakota and pushed his run to five consecutive games over 100 yards with 183 and a score against Portland State. His five-game stretch over the century mark was the longest by a Hornet since Bryan Hilliard had six straight in 2010. During the stretch, Dotson averaged 171.0 yards per game, 7.5 yards per rush and scored six TDs.
- Just a week into his third year, Dotson has already rushed for 1,667 yards which places him ninth at Sacramento State. His 16 career rushing touchdowns rank seventh, his average of 5.97 yards per carry places him third and his average of 75.8 rushing yards per game is seventh.
- Dotson finished last year ranked 16th in the FCS in rushing yards (1,154) and 10th in yards per game (115.4). He also had 160 receiving yards this season giving him 1,340 all-purpose yards this year. That total ranks 20th nationally and third in the Big Sky.
- 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.
- Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:
Career Rushing Yards Total Needs
8. Garrett Safron (2011-14) 1,906 239
9. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 1,667 ---
Career Rushing Touchdowns Total Needs
T5. Jordan Robinson (2013-16) 25 9
T5. Troy Mills (1990-91) 25 9
7. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 16 ---
CRASHING THE TOP 10
- With his two more years of eligibility, Kevin Thomson is almost assured to end his career ranked among the all-time passing greats in school history. Thomson entered this season ranked just outside the top 10 in career passing yards and career passing touchdowns but crashed that list with a 303-yard, four touchdown performance against Southern Oregon.
- In 16 career games, Thomson has thrown for 3,511 yards which moved him into 10th place in school history. His 29 career passing touchdowns jumped him into ninth place and moved him past his current position coach Bobby Fresques who tossed 27 between 1990-92.
- Thomson is currently the all-time leader in two career passing categories. His career pass efficiency of 168.4 is well ahead of the second place mark of 146.5 set by Tony Trosin (1998). Thomson is also the only quarterback to average more than 10 yards per pass attempt as his average of 10.32 is a full two yards beyond the second place average of 8.24 from Ricky Ray (1999-2000).
- The Auburn, Wash., native is also 15th in career attempts (340), tied for 14th in completions (190), tied for seventh in career completion percentage (.559) and fourth in career yards per game (219.4).
- Below is where Thomson ranks among the school's all-time leaders:
Career Passing Yards Total Needs
6. Ricky Ray (1999-2000) 4,622 1,111
7. Greg Knapp (1982-85) 3,806 295
8. Drew Wyant (1986-89) 3,800 289
9. Bobby Fresques (1990-92) 3,757 246
10. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 3,511 ---
Career Passing Touchdowns Total Needs
6. Ricky Ray (1999-2000) 33 4
7. Greg Knapp (1982-85) 32 3
8. Jeff Fleming (2010-11) 30 1
9. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 29 ---
KICKING IT A LITTLE LONGER
- With his extra year of eligibility, Devon Medeiros will continue his climb up the Hornet scoring list. Medeiros is currently tied for third in career field goals, fourth in extra points and fourth in career scoring by kickers.
- Medeiros tied the school single season record in 2017 with 14 field goals and ranked second with 52 PATs and was named second team all-Big Sky. Last season, he was 10-of-15 on field goals with a long of 39 and converted all 26 of his extra points.
Career Scoring Total Needs
1. Scott Brown (1996-99) 239 67
2. Juan Gamboa (2005-08) 203 31
3. Devon Medeiros (2015-pres.) 172 ---
Career Field Goals Total Needs
1. Scott Brown (1996-99) 44 18
2. Juan Gamboa (2005-08) 36 10
T3. Devon Medeiros (2015-pres.) 26 ---
Career PATs Total Needs
1. Scott Brown (1996-99) 107 13
2. Juan Gamboa (2005-08) 95 1
3. Devon Medeiros (2015-pres.) 94 ---
PUT ME IN COACH
- Sacramento State played 67 players in the season opener against Southern Oregon. Among those were three quarterbacks, including Jake Dunniway who made his Hornet debut. Dunniway completed all three of his pass attempts for a total of 37 yards and also rushed for three yards.
- In all, 19 players appeared in their first game at Sacramento State. Eight players earned their first career start comprised of WR Parker Clayton, TE Marshel Martin, LT Troy Stiefel, RT Brandon Weldon, SLB Miguel Garcia, MLB Marcus Hawkins, CB Davion Ross and P Sam Clark.
- CB Caelan Barnes, DB Marcus Bruce, DT Dariyn Choates, RB Elijah Dotson, OL Wyatt Ming and QB Kevin Thomson were named team captains following a vote of the players.
- Dotson is the only player on the team with a start streak which predates last season. Dotson started the final game of 2017 before earning the nod in all 10 games a year ago.
- The 2019 Sacramento State football schedule was named the toughest in the Big Sky Conference and the ninth most difficult in the FCS by HERO Sports. The Hornets will play FBS Arizona State and Fresno State in the non-conference portion of its schedule before facing eight of the top nine ranked teams from the preseason Big Sky poll in conference play. The team's four home games will come against schools picked to finished 1-4 in both the preseason and media poll.
- Four Sacramento State players were granted additional years of eligibility by the NCAA during the spring. The four, who were all listed as seniors in 2018, are comprised of kicker Devon Medeiros, offensive guard Wyatt Ming, defensive end George Obinna and quarterback Kevin Thomson. Ming played in just one game last season and Obinna in only two due to injuries. Medeiros was granted the extension after he was limited to two games during 2016. Thomson was given a nearly unprecedented two years of additional eligibility meaning he will go from being listed as a senior during the 2018 season to a junior in 2019. He missed his first three years of collegiate football due to an elbow injury.
- Ming, Medeiros and Thomson are two of six players on the 2019 roster that have already earned their bachelor's degree. They are joined by offensive lineman Nick Bianco and graduate transfers Isaiah Bailey and Joey Lewis.
- The 2019 defensive coaching staff may be new to the Hornets but they are no strangers to the Big Sky Conference. The trio of Andy Thompson (DC/LB), Cherokee Valeria (secondary) and Kraig Paulson (DL) own a combined 50 years as experience as coaches and players in the conference.
- The offensive staff is on the opposite end of the spectrum for Big Sky experience as running backs coach James Montgomery is in his sixth year with the team and head coach Troy Taylor spent one year as the OC at Eastern Washington.