FOOTBALL HEADS TO COLORADO FOR SECOND STRAIGHT FBS GAME
A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will continue its tour of Football Bowl Subdivision teams when it travels to historic Folsom Field to take on Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Boulder, Colo. The game will kick of at 1 p.m. MT.
There will be multiple ways to follow this week’s game. Hornet fans can tune in to Classic 93.1 FM and KAHI 950 AM in the foothills 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 application for mobile devices.
The game will also be televised by the newly created Pac-12 Network. Matt Smith will handle the play-by-play with color commentary coming from Colorado All-American and freestyle moguls skiing Olympian Jeremy Bloom.
This week’s game will mark the first time the Hornets will play an FBS team in consecutive weeks. The only other time Sacramento State has played a pair of FBS teams in the same season came in 2007 (Sperbeck’s first) when it played at Fresno State and New Mexico. The Hornets are also slated to face Arizona State and San Jose State in 2013.
The 2012 season began with a 49-19 loss at New Mexico State last Thursday. The Hornets fell behind early, 28-3, but rallied to close within nine (28-19) midway through the third quarter. From there, three turnovers led to 21-unanswered points by the Aggies.
Colorado lost a 22-17 affair to in-state rival Colorado State in a game played at the Broncos’ Sports Authority Field. The Buffaloes jumped to a 14-3 lead but saw it evaporate behind a pair of fumbles. Junior quarterback Jordan Webb, who transferred from Kansas in the offseason, completed 22-of-41 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked five times in the loss. As a team, CU was limited to 58 rushing yards while allowing 125.
Marshall Sperbeck is in his sixth season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 24-32 overall record. For a complete bio, please see page 2.
Colorado is coached by Jon Embree who is in his second season. A former player at CU, who most recently was an assistant with the Washington Redskins, Embree owns 3-10 overall record.
Sacramento State and Colorado have never met in football until this season. The Hornets are 6-1 against Colorado teams, losing at Colorado State in 2008 and going 6-0 against Northern Colorado.
• Sacramento State has played a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent each season since 2002. This year, however, will mark just the second time that the Hornets will play two games against an FBS foe. Including the loss at NMSU, Sacramento State is now 1-11 when playing up a subdivision.
• Last season, Sacramento State shocked the football world with a 29-28 overtime victory at Oregon State. The win was the first for Sacramento State over a Pac-10/12 opponent and one of just six by a Football Championship Subdivision team over an FBS team in 2011.
• The Hornets have primarily faced Pac-12 opponents when playing up and that streak will continue when the team will play at Arizona State in 2013 and at Washington in 2015.
SAFRON MAKES HIS MARK
• Making his first opening day start, redshirt sophomore Garrett Safron recorded a career day at New Mexico State. Safron completed 23-of-35 pass attempts for 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 27 yards which was the second highest total on the team.
• Safron’s yardage total was his first 300-yard game and placed him 37th in school history. He also became the 17th Hornet quarterback to surpass the 300-yard plateau. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04) holds the school record with seven career 300-yard games.
• Last season, Safron played in five games in relief of the injured Jeff Fleming. During several of those contests, he shared snaps with Tommy Edwards.
• Safron nearly matched his completion total (24) from a year ago while setting career highs in nearly every category. His previous bests were 11 completions, 31 attempts and 155 yards which came in the season finale against UC Davis. He also matched his touchdown best of two set against Northern Arizona.
• In his debut season, Safron threw for 394 yards and also used his athleticism to rush for 286 yards. He found the end zone six times with an equal amount through the air and on the ground.
• Safron also showed good decision making during the course of the season, not throwing an interception in his 57 pass attempts. That streak came to an end when a pass was juggled by a Hornet receiver and intercepted by NMSU on his final attempt of the game — ending his run at 91 consecutive pass attempts without a pick.
ADDING IT UP
• A career high passing total led to several career receiving performances.
• Sophomore DeAndre Carter matched his career total with four receptions for a career best 81 yards and also caught his first career touchdown. Among Carter’s total was a 59-yard bomb which led to his 8-yard TD grab.
• Senior tight end T.J. Knowles, who caught one pass for 22 yards a year ago, grabbed five passes for 75 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown down the middle of the field.
• The big haul came from junior Morris Norrise who caught a team-high seven passes for 84 yards. Norrise also moved into the 15 in school history with 80 career receptions.
• In all, seven Hornets caught at least one pass during the game, including the first career grabs for JC transfer Ezekiel Graham and redshirt freshmen Blake Robertson and Shane Harrison.
• Todd Davis has shined in the spotlight of big games since moving to linebacker to start the 2011 season. The Palmdale, Calif., native made his first start at Oregon State and promptly tallied 12 tackles in the win over the Beavers.
• Davis was an honorable mention all-conference selection and was named to the preseason all-conference team after leading the team with 96 tackles. The junior had 10-plus tackles in four games and at least eight tackles in eight of the 11 games.
• Davis began 2012 much like his sophomore campaign, tallying a team high 11 stops at New Mexico State. Included in that total was a sack, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a pass break-up.
THE HORNET BADGER
• Fellow linebacker Jeff Badger ranked third on the team a year ago with 85 tackles. After recording seven stops at New Mexico State, Badger now has 133 career tackles with just two full years on the defensive side of the ball (he opened his career as a running back where he rushed for 109 yards).
• Despite starting 22 straight games at linebacker, Badger had not forced a fumble in the last two years. That changed against the Aggies when the Windsor, Calif., native jarred the ball loose on back-to-back plays in the first quarter — both of which were recovered by NMSU.
ON HIS OWN
• Last season, punter Smith Heath had the challenge of taking over for his brother, Augie, midway through the year. The younger Heath played in three games, but struggled to find consistency, averaging 33.3 yards per punt with a long of 42 on 16 kicks.
• Against New Mexico State, Smith nearly averaged his long from a year ago, punting five balls for an average of 41.2 yards. Amongst his kicks was a 51-yard bomb as well as a near-perfect coffin-corner punt which sailed 46 yards before going out-of-bounds at the 3-yard line.
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
• With the surprising release of long snapper Lonie Paxton by the Denver Broncos it appeared that the streak of last least one Sacramento State player in the NFL which dates back to 1996 would be in jeopardy.
• That streak was kept alive when the Minnesota Vikings elected to keep McLeod Bethel-Thompson as their third quarterback and release veteran Sage Rosenfels. Bethel-Thomspon attended training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and was on the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad later in the year.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
• The graduation of Zack Nash, who is the school’s all-time leader in sacks with 29.5, left a void in the Hornet defense heading into 2012.
• The team responded with four sacks from four different players against New Mexico State for a combined loss of 21 yards.
• Not only were the sacks split among individuals, they also came from all parts of the defense with one coming from defensive end Trent Eskew, defensive tackle Matt Lawrence, linebacker Todd Davis and cornerback Osagie Odiase.
WORTH THE WAIT
• Robert Beale joined the Sacramento State team in 2009 after graduating from Pitman HS in Turlock, Calif. Beale redshirted that first season and returned for 2010 where he did not play in a game.
• Last year, Beale earned his way onto the field in a pair of contests but did not make a tackle.
• The lack of playing time did not discourage Beale who earned the starting job at field safety with a strong showing in training camp.
• That effort carried over to the season opener where Beale ranked second on the team with nine tackles, including five solos. He also had a tackle-for-loss.
COACHES LUNCHEONS RETURN
• The Hornet Club Football Luncheons will return on Monday, Sept. 10, at Buca di Beppo on Howe and Hurley. The luncheons will feature head coach Marshall Sperbeck as well as a student-athlete and will take place from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
• The luncheons will take place each Monday throughout the season with the exception of Sept. 17 which is the date of the Bob Mattos Memorial Golf Tournament.