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FOOTBALL HOSTS AUSTIN PEAY IN SECOND ROUND OF FCS PLAYOFFS ON SATURDAY

FOOTBALL HOSTS AUSTIN PEAY IN SECOND ROUND OF FCS PLAYOFFS ON SATURDAY

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A BRIEF PREVIEW

  • The Sacramento State football team will continue its historic season when it hosts Austin Peay in the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. The game will mark the first playoff appearance for the Hornets at the FCS level and the first by a Hornet football team since advancing to the semifinals of the 1988 NCAA Div. II playoffs.
  • Sacramento State claimed a share of its first Big Sky Conference football title in program history following a 27-17 win over UC Davis in the Causeway Classic on Nov. 23. The Hornets finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and a 7-1 record in league games to tie Weber State for the top spot. Both the overall and league win totals set all-time bests at Sacramento State.
  • The Hornets, who were ranked third in the final regular season STATS FCS  and AFCA Coaches polls, were seeded fourth by the FCS Coaches committee. That seeding allowed the team to have a bye in the first round before hosting on Dec. 7.
  • 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 shown online via ESPN3 with Robert Lee and Stan Lewter providing the commentary. ESPN3 can be accessed through the ESPN app and is available on most smart TVs and video game consoles.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: AUSTIN PEAY

  • Austin Peay improved to 10-3 overall while recording its first FCS playoff victory in school history with a 42-6 win over Furman on Saturday. The Governors dominated the second half, outscoring Furman, 35-3, over the final two quarters, including a 28-0 run in the third quarter.
  • The Govs offense has been balanced throughout the year, averaging 184.7 yards on the ground and 245.5 through the air. Quarterback JaVaughn Craig spearheads the attack with 217.8 passing yards and 43.6 rushing yards per game. Craig has completed 58 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
  • The APSU defense is led by Jack McDonald who has 103 total tackles, including 9.5 for loss. Kordell Jackson is also among the national leaders with seven interceptions.
  • Mark Hudspeth is in his first season as the Governors head coach. He was previously the head coach at Louisiana Lafayette and North Alabama.

ALL-BIG SKY ACCOLADES

  • Sacramento State recorded a school record 15 all-Big Sky selections, including a conference best seven on the first team. To put the 15 selections in comparison, the Hornets had only two players earn all-conference last year with one on the first team and one earning honorable mention.
  • Among the first team selections was quarterback Kevin Thomson who was named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year. Thomson became the first Hornet QB to earn first team all-conference since the Hornets joined the Big Sky. He is also the second Sacramento State player to win the Offensive Player of the Year award, joining former All-American and CFL Hall of Famer Charles Roberts who took home the honor in 1999 and 2000.
  • Defensive end George Obinna and running back Elijah Dotson were both selected to the first team for the second time of their careers. Center Wyatt Ming, defensive tackle Dariyn Choates and nickelback Marcus Bruce also earned their second all-conference honor.

    First Team
    No.    Name    Pos.    Yr.    Hometown
    5    Kevin Thomson    QB    Jr.    Auburn, Wash.
    33    Elijah Dotson    RB    Jr.    Sacramento, Calif.
    59    Wyatt Ming    OL (C)    Sr.    Acampo, Calif.
    84    Pierre Williams    WR    So.    Gustine, Calif.
    37    Daron Bland    DB (CB)    Jr.    Modesto, Calif.
    95    Dariyn Choates    DT    Sr.    Seaside, Calif.
    99    George Obinna    DE    Sr.    Tracy, Calif.
    Second Team
    16    Marshel Martin    TE    Fr.    Vallejo, Calif.   
    60    Nick Bianco    OL (G)    Sr.    Visalia, Calif.   
    5    Marcus Hawkins    ILB    Jr.    Fresno, Calif.
    8    Caelan Barnes    DB (S)    Sr.    Sacramento, Calif.
    34    Marcus Bruce    OLB    Sr.    Bakersfield, Calif.
    Third Team
    57    Elijah Chambers    DT    Jr.    San Jacinto, Calif.
    Honorable Mention
    21    BJ Perkinson    RB    Jr.    Hawthorne, Calif.
    44    Josiah Erickson    DE    Jr.    San Dimas, Calif.

TAYLOR NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR

  • A day after the 15 Hornets were named to the all-Big Sky teams, Troy Taylor was selected at the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in a vote of the league's head coaches.
  • Taylor was also named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson award which goes to the best coach in the FCS during the season. The Eddie Robinson award will be presented in Frisco, Texas, on the day prior to the FCS Championship.
  • Taylor has yet to complete a full year at Sacramento State after being hired on  Dec. 17. In his first year at the helm, the Hornets have claimed a share of their first Big Sky title, set school records for overall and conference victories and earned their first FCS playoff appearances.
  • The Sacramento native did coach in the 2016 FCS playoffs as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington. That year, the Eagles defeated Central Arkansas (31-14) in the second round and shutout Richmond (38-0) in the quarterfinals. The team's season came to an end with a last minute 40-38 loss against Youngstown State in the semis. That EWU team featured Gage Gubrud at quarterback and had current NFL players Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne at wide receivers.

FIRST TIME, LONG TIME

  • Sacramento State will be playing in the FCS Playoffs for the first time in program history. The Hornets moved to Div. I-AA/FCS in 1994. The only other school in the 24-team field to be making its FCS postseason debut is Austin Peay.
  • Sacramento State last played in the postseason in 1988 where the team advanced to the Div. II semifinals. That year, the team opened with a road win at UC Davis (35-14), returned home to down North Carolina Central (56-7) before falling at North Dakota State (42-20).
  • The only other postseason appearances in program history came in a pair of bowl games. Sacramento State suffered a 28-7 defeat to Montana State in the 1964 Camelia Bowl at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. The team lost to Grambling, 34-7, in the 1968 Junior Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

CALL IT A COMEBACK

  • For the first time this season, Sacramento State overcame a halftime deficit for a victory. The Hornets trailed UC Davis 17-10 at the break before outscoring the Aggies 17-0 in the second half to claim the Causeway Classic title.
  • Prior to that game, Sacramento State was 0-3 in games in which it trailed at halftime with losses to Arizona State, Fresno State and Weber State. Conversely, the Hornets were 7-0 when leading or tied at the break.
  • Sacramento State still trailed the Aggies, 17-13, at the end of three quarters. That set the table for the team's first win this year with trailing heading into the fourth quarter.
  • The team's biggest comeback this season came at Northern Arizona. After being knotted 17-17 at the half the Hornets scored a touchdown to build a 24-17 lead at the end of third quarter. From there, NAU scored 17 unanswered to lead 34-24. Sacramento State rallied for 14 points in the final 98 seconds all without a timeout.  The comeback included a fake punt return and an onside kick recovery.

PUT A RING ON IT

  • Sacramento State's victory in the Causeway Classic gave the team a 7-1 Big Sky record and a tie for the title alongside Weber State.
  • The conference championships was the first for the Hornets since it went 3-0 to win the American West Conference in 1995. Despite the title, that team had a 4-6-1 overall record and was outscored by 122 points.
  • The Hornets have won just two other conference titles since starting football in 1954. The first came in 1964 where the team was 4-0-1 to win the Far Western Conference. That year the team went on to play Montana State in the Camelia Bowl.
  • Two years later, Sacramento State was 8-2 overall and 6-0 win the league. That season, the team allowed just 102 points in 10 games and had eight games giving up nine points or less.

PUTTING THE CLAMPS DOWN

  • Sacramento State has posted two of its best defensive performances of the season in its last two games. During the stretch against Idaho and UC Davis, the team has allowed 12.0 points and 245.0 yards of total offense per game.
  • The streak began in the win at Idaho where the Hornets limited the Vandals to just 194 yards of total offense, including 16 yards in the first half.
  • The performance marked the second time this year that Sacramento State held a team under 200 total yards. Prior to this season, the Hornets had not held a team under 200 yards since 2015.
  • Idaho was also limited to just eight first downs in the game. That was the lowest mark by a Sacramento State opponent since Northern Colorado posted five in a rain-soaked game in 2011.
  • In the first half, Idaho ran 25 total plays for 16 yards and were shut out. The Vandals finished the first two quarters with minus-17 rushing yards on 13 carries and had one first down. This season, Sacramento State has now shut out Northern Colorado, Cal Poly and Idaho in the first half.
  • In the final regular season game, the Hornets shut out UC Davis in the second half and limited the Aggies to 97 yards in the final two quarters and 296 yards in the game. Much like the Idaho game, a lot of Sacramento State's success game against the rush where UCD had only 63 yards on the ground.
  • The performance was a significant improvement from the prior Causeway Classic where UC Davis amassed 691 total yards and rolled to a 56-13 win.
  • Sacramento State currently leads the Big Sky Conference in both scoring defense and total defense. The Hornets are surrendering 345.1 yards per game which would be the lowest single-season average since 2010 (334.0). Opponents are scoring 20.8 points per game which is just under the FCS-era school record of 21.4 which was set in 1994.
  • The team has been able to make its mark inside the red zone. Sacramento State is fourth nationally and leads the Big Sky in red zone defense. This year, opponents have made 32 trips inside the 20-yard line and have come out with 16 touchdowns and five field goals.

FROM ZERO TO THE UNKNOWN

  • Sacramento State wrapped up last season 0-7 in the Big Sky Conference and finished 2-8 overall. The Hornets had their final home game cancelled due to poor air quality from Camp Fire and then played the Causeway Classic at Mackay Stadium in Reno the following week. The conference record marked the first time Sacramento State was held without a league victory since going 0-8 in 1996 — its first season in the Big Sky.
  • Since the Big Sky began playing at least a six-game schedule in 1984, there have been 19 teams that have gone winless in conference play. This year's Sacramento State team is the first of those 19 to win at least six conference game a year after getting blanked. In fact, Idaho is the only other school to win five games the next year. The Vandals were 0-7 in 1981 and 5-2 in 1982.
  • The greatest one-year improvement in the FCS and the Big Sky comes from Montana State which went 1-10 overall and 1-6 in league games in 1983 before going 12-2 and 6-1 the following year to win the Div. I-AA championship.
  • Sacramento State also currently owns the biggest improvement from last season to this year in the FCS. The team's seven-game turnaround places it one victory ahead of Tennessee Tech and UT-Martin.

MADE TO BE BROKEN

  • Sacramento State has already set several single-season records during the 2019 season:
  • The plus-186 point differential is the best in school history. The previous high was +159 in 1988.
  • The 302 first downs bettered the 299 from the 2014 season.
  • The team's 923 offensive plays beat the previous mark of 915 from 2013. This season's total was aided by 101 offensive plays against UC Davis which tied the single-game record.
  • The 20.8 points allowed per game is currently the best in the school's Div. I-era (1994-pres.). That mark is slightly better than the previous record of 21.4 from 1994. The overall school record is 14.9 from 1992.
  • There are several other marks that are close to falling:
  • The team needs one more touchdown to tie the record of 60 from 2014.
  • The Hornets are 22 points shy of the school record of 458 total points which also came in 2014.
  • With seven pass attempts against Austin Peay, the team will tie the mark of 478 from 1996.
  • The Hornets need 110 passing yards against the Governors to better the single-season record of 3,626 from 1994.
  • Sacramento State is currently averaging 293.8 passing yards per game which trails only the 303.0 mark from 2014.
  • The 42 sacks this year is one shy of the Div. I-era record of 43 from 2017.

SEASON OF FIRSTS

  • The win against EWU was the first at home against the Eagles in 13 tries.
  • The victory at Montana State was the first since joining Big Sky Conference.
  • The win over Montana was the first for a ranked Hornet team against an FCS opponent. It was also the first home victory when ranked in the FCS top 25.
  • The team has defeated three ranked FCS opponents for the first time in a single season.
  • Sacramento State won its first four Big Sky games for the first time in program history.
  • The win at Idaho was the first in program history.

RANKINGS REHASH

  • Sacramento State closed the regular season ranked third in the  both the STATS FCS media poll and AFCA FCS coaches poll.  The Hornets have now been ranked for seven straight weeks for the first time since moving to Div. I in 1993. The No. 3 ranking is the highest mark in school history.
  • Sacramento State has already knocked off three ranked opponents in No. 22 Eastern Washington, No. 6 Montana State and No. 5 Montana. The game against No. 3 Weber State marked the first time since 2010 the team has played at least four games against top 25 teams and the first against three top 10 teams since 1996.
  • Prior to this year, the Hornets had not beaten a top 25 team since a 39-25 win against No. 11 Cal Poly in 2012. The previous highest ranked team before this season was a 24-21 win at No. 8 Northern Arizona in 2002.

PITCHING SHUTOUTS

  • While the defense has received its fair share of attention for keeping the opponents off the scoreboard, the Hornet offensive line has also been keeping the opposition stymied with its performance. Sacramento State has had the luxury of starting the same five players across the offensive line in all 12 games with Troy Stiefel at left tackle, Nick Bianco at left guard, Wyatt Ming at center, Thomas Parker at right guard and Brandon Weldon at right tackle.
  • That fivesome has responded by not allowing a sack in six of the team's 12 games. In all, the unit has given up just 15 sacks the entire season. That total places the Hornets 17th in the FCS in fewest sacks allowed. However, when you look at sacks allowed per pass attempt, the Hornets move up to 10th in the FCS.
  • Ming was named to the all-Big Sky first team for the first time in his career. The senior came to Sacramento State as a defensive tackle before moving across the line prior to the 2017 season. That year, he was named honorable mention all-conference at guard. Last year, he started the season opener against Saint Francis (Ill.) but suffered a broken leg in the game. That injury ended his season and allowed him to return for 2019.
  • Ming also serves as one of the team's captains. The Acampo, Calif., native has already completed his bachelor's degree in geography and is currently pursuing a second bachelor's in communication studies.
  • Bianco was named to the all-Big Sky second team for his first all-conference award. The senior has started 21 consecutive games and 31 games in his career. He has completed his degree in kinesiology and is enrolled in the master's program.
  • Earlier this fall, Bianco was named a semifinalist for the Williams V. Campbell Trophy which recognizes the best scholar-athlete in the nation.

A NEW ALL-TIME SACK LEADER

  • George Obinna had three total tackles and a QB hurry but was held without a sack against UC Davis. Despite being blanked, Obinna already owns the Sacramento State single-season record with 13.5 sacks. His record-breaking takedown came at Idaho and moved him past Zack Nash who held the mark with 13.0 in 2010.
  • Three weeks ago, Obinna passed Nash with a pair of sacks against Weber State to claim the career total. He has since added a sack at Northern Arizona and Idaho to give him 33.0 in his career.
  • The senior ranks second in the FCS and leads the Big Sky with 1.13 sacks per game this season. He only trails Houston Baptist's Andre Walker who has 15.0 sacks and averages 1.25 per game.
  • Obinna is also in fourth place on the school career tackles-for-loss list as he raised his total to 43.5. He ranks second on the team with 16.5 TFLs this season and his average of 1.5 per game ranks second in the Big Sky and is tied for 27th nationally.
  • Not to be outdone, Dariyn Choates leads the conference and is 14th in the FCS with 1.5 TFLs per game. Choates has 17.0 total TFLs this season to lead the team and places him fourth in program single-season history.
  • Sacramento State's season total of 42 sacks (3.50 per game) ranks fourth nationally and is first in the Big Sky. Thirteen players have been credited with a sack. This year's total easily surpasses last year's mark of 13. The team is 10th in the FCS with 8.2 TFLs per game. Overall, Sacramento State has 98 TFLs as a team in 12 games which is nearly twice the amount of the opponents (53).
  • Obinna was a first team all-Big Sky selection in 2017 and entered last season having been named to three preseason FCS All-America teams as well as preseason all-Big Sky. He returned to the Big Sky first team this year and joined Zack Nash as the only defensive linemen in program history to have two first team awards.
  • Choates was named honorable mention all-Big Sky in 2017 after setting career highs with 9.5 TFLs and 5.0 sacks. He was named to the all-Big Sky first team for the first time this year.

    Career Sacks    Total    Needs
    1. George Obinna (2015-pres.)    33.0    ---
    2. Zack Nash (2008-11)    29.5    ---

    Career Tackles-For-Loss    Total    Needs
    1. Mike Brannon (2005-08)    52.5    9.5
    2. Matt Logue (2002-05)    45.5    2.0
    3. Anthony Daisley (1999-2000)    44.0    0.5
    4. George Obinna (2015-pres.)    43.5    ---     

    Single-Season Sacks    Total    Needs
    1. George Obinna (2019)    13.5    ---
    2. Zack Nash (2010)    13.0    ---

    Single-Season TFLs    Total    Needs
    1. Anthony Daisley (1999)    25.0    8.0/8.5
    2. Anthony Daisley (2000)    19.0    2.0/2.5
    3. Mike Brannon (2007)    18.0    1.0/1.5
    4. Dariyn Choates (2019)    17.0    ---/0.5
    T5. George Obinna (2019)    16.5    ---/---
    T5. Zack Nash (2010)    16.5    ---/---

DUAL-THREAT DOTSON

  • Elijah Dotson had 103 yards of total offensive in the Causeway Classic victory with 69 rushing and 34 receiving against the Aggies. That performance came a week after he had 16 carries for 109 yards at Idaho. The game was the 10th 100-yard performance of his career which moved him into a tie for sixth in school history.
  • Overall, Dotson has 1,439 all-purpose yards, ranks 30th in the FCS and third in the Big Sky at 119.9 yards per game. His 3.770 career all-purpose yards place in seventh in school history and his career average of 114.2 all-purpose yards per game ranks seventh.
  • Dotson and Charles Roberts are the only Hornet running backs to earn first team all-Big Sky honors. Roberts did it in 1998, 1999 and 2000 while also being the conferees Offensive Player of the Year in his final two seasons. Dotson was a first team selection the last two seasons.
  • Last season, Dotson led the team with 1,154 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 1,314 all-purpose yards. His 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.
  • Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:

    Career Rushing Yards    Total    Needs
    6. Troy Mills (1990-91)    2,771    404
    8. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    2,367    ---

    Career Rushing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    T5. Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    25    4
    T5. Troy Mills (1990-91)    25    4
    7. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    21    ---

    Career All-Purpose Yards    Total    Needs
    5. Troy Mills (1990-91)    4,070    300
    6. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    3,770    ---

    Career Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    6. Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    30    3
    T7. Fred Amey (2001-04)    29    2
    T7. Troy Mills (1990-91)    29    2
    9. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    27    ---

MARTIN SETS TIGHT END RECORD

  • Redshirt freshman Marshel Martin picked the perfect time to set the program record for touchdowns by a tight end. Martin caught a pass in the middle of the field and then broke free for a 51-yard touchdown to give the Hornets a 20-17 nine seconds into the fourth quarter against UC Davis. Martin later fought off a pair of would-be tacklers for a 12-yard gain which set up the team's final touchdown on a rush from Kevin Thomson.
  • Martin's touchdown was his seventh of the season to move him past Chris Kelly who had six in 1999. He became just the seventh Hornet tight end to have multiple TDs in the team's Div. I era (1994-pres.).
  • Martin, who was a second team all-Big Sky selection, is currently third on the team with 36 receptions and 514 receiving yards. His seven touchdowns are tied with Pierre Williams for the team lead.

RESETTING THE CLOCK

  • Kevin Thomson is currently the all-time Hornet leader in two career passing categories. His career pass efficiency of 149.9 is well ahead of the second place mark of 146.5 set by Tony Trosin (1998). Thomson has also averaged 8.53 yards per pass attempt and is well beyond the second place average of 8.24 from Ricky Ray (1999-2000).
  • The Auburn, Wash., native is also fourth in career completions (420) and career attempts (717), third in career completion percentage (.586) and second in career yards per game (235.3).
    Thomson has set his career highs for completions (32), attempts (55) and yards (361) and tied his high for passing touchdowns (5) this season.
  • Thomson began his collegiate career at UNLV but suffered an elbow injury which required Tommy John surgery. After sitting out two full seasons, he transferred to Sacramento State where he earned the starting job and led the team to a 7-5 overall record in 2017. Last season, he was injured at San Diego State and missed four games. During the offseason, the NCAA granted him two additional seasons of eligibility.
  • Below is where Thomson ranks among the school's all-time leaders:

    Career Passing Yards    Total    Needs
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    8,376    2,258
    3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    6,118    ---

    Career Passing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    86    36
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    50    ---
        Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    50    ---

    Career Total Offense    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    11,619    4,341
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    8,455    1,177
    3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    7,278    ---

    Career TDs Responsible For    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    102    33
    2. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    69    ---

    Single Season Passing TDs    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2014)    34    9
    2. Garrett Safron (2013)    27    2
    3. Kevin Thomson (2019)    25    ---

    Single Season Passing Yards    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2014)    3,490    580
    2. Garrett Safron (2013)    3,289    379
    3. Kevin Thomson (2019)    2,910    ---

    Single Season Completions    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2013)    294    50
    2. Garrett Safron (2014)    269    25
    3. Garrett Safron (2012)    246    2
    4. Kevin Thomson (2019)    244    ---

    Single Season TDs Responsible For    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2014    38    3
    2. Kevin Thomson (2019)    35    ---

WILLIAMS NEARS CAREER TOP 10

  • Pierre Williams caught just one pass against UC Davis but it had a big impact. The sophomore converted a 3rd-and-20 with a 24-yard grab late in the second quarter. That catch allowed the drive to continue and set up Kevin Thomson's first touchdown run to pull the Hornets within seven at the break.
  • Williams began garnering attention with his performance on the scout team while redshirting in 2017. That year, he would routinely make highlight reel catches while matching up against starters who were four to five years his elder. Last season, he played a complimentary role to Andre Lindsey and Jaelin Ratliff but finished the year with 31 receptions for 553 yards and five TDs.
  • This year, he leads the team with 931 receiving yards  and seven receiving touchdowns and is second with 54 receptions. Williams joined former All-American Fred Amey as the only players in school history to have at least 500 yards during their freshman and sophomore seasons.
  • The Gustine, Calif., native has also moved onto the Sacramento State top 20 list for career receiving yards and is close to the joining in the list in career receptions and career touchdowns.

    Career Receiving Yards    Total    Needs
    10. Scott Towne (1997-2000)    1,646    162
    11. Isiah Hennie (2014-17)    1,523    39
    12. Pierre Williams (2018-pres.)    1,484    ---

    Single-Season Receiving Yards    Total    Needs
    6. Mike Carter (1969)    1,106    175
    T7. Fred Amey (2003)    989    58
    T7. Fred Amey (2002)    989    58
    9. Clint Primm (1992)    951    20
    10. Pierre Williams (2019)    931    ---

ROAD WARRIORS

  • Sacramento State capped a perfect Big Sky road record for the first time in school history with its win at Idaho. The team was 4-0 in league play and 4-2 overall with a pair of close losses at Arizona State and Fresno State.
  • Prior to this season, the Hornets were 26-66 in Big Sky road games and had just one season (2013, 3-1) with a with a winning record.
    Among that record were eight seasons in which the team failed to win a conference road game. From the final road game of 2002 through the first of 2006, the team lost 14 consecutive Big Sky road games.

SERIES FACTS

  • This is the first meeting between Sacramento State and Austin Peay. It is also the first for the Hornets against a team from the Ohio Valley Conference as well as one from the state of Tennessee.

CONNECTIONS

  • Sacramento State does not have any players from the state of Tennessee.
  • Austin Peay has three players from the state of California. Linebacker Spencer Katoanga is from Oceanside (El Camino HS/Palomar JC); long snapper Lucas Betten is from Riverside (Redlands East Valley HS/Riverside JC); Bryan McCann resides from Yorba Linda (Esperanza HS/Golden West JC).

QUICK HITTERS

  • 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.
  • 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 played 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 came 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 are comprised of Devon Medeiros, Wyatt Ming, George Obinna and 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.
  • 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 Nick Bianco and graduate transfers Isaiah Bailey and Joey Lewis.
  • The 77 points scored by SAC in the season opener were the most in program history and tied for the most in the FCS this year.
  • The 50-0 win over Northern Colorado was the team's first shutout since a 14-0 contest at UNC in 2011 which was played in heavy rain. The last home shutout was a 30-0 win over SF State in 1994.
  • Sacramento State had an interception and fumble return for touchdowns against Eastern Washington. The team had not had two defensive TDs in a game since 2009.
  • Devon Medeiros set the Sacramento State career record for PATs during the 2019 season. Medeiros currently has 130 extra points which betters Scott Brown's record of 107.
  • 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.
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