FOOTBALL HOME OPENER AGAINST NORTHERN COLORADO ON SATURDAY
• Public Affairs feature on Edgar Castaneda
A BRIEF PREVIEW
Fresh off a dramatic 30-28 come-from-behind victory at Colorado, the Sacramento State football team will play its first home game of 2012 when it welcomes Northern Colorado to Hornet Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 2:05 p.m.
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 not be televised but can be seen online via bigskytv.org. The broadcasts are free to watch but fans must create a username and password prior to the start of the game.
Under head coach Marshall Sperbeck, the Hornets are 4-1 in their home opener, including last season’s 42-28 victory over No. 10 Montana. Since 1957, Sacramento State is 36-19-1 in their first home game of the year.
Sacramento State enters this week’s game with a 1-1 overall record after winning its second game over a Pac-12 opponent in as many years. Quarterback Garrett Safron threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns and Morris Norrise caught seven passes for 104 yards to lead the offense. The Hornet defense also did its part, limiting the Buffaloes to 194 yards of total offense over the final 52 minutes of the game. However, it was kicker Edgar Castaneda who stole the spotlight with a 30-yard field goal as time expired to give the team the deciding points.
Northern Colorado (1-1) defeated Colorado Mesa, 40-3, for its first win in two years — ending a streak of 12 consecutive losses. Junior quarterback Seth Lobato threw for 260 yards and a TD and junior running back Tromaine Davis added three rushing scores in the victory. The Bears’ defense also forced four turnovers, including an interception on Mesa’s first offensive play of the game.
Sacramento State leads the all-time series against Northern Colorado, 6-0. The two teams have met every year since the Bears joined the Big Sky in 2006. This week’s game will be the first between the two teams that is not a Big Sky game.
• Sacramento State will be looking to open the season 2-1 for just the third time since 2002.
• The Hornets (Oregon State and Colorado) and defending FCS national champion North Dakota State (Minnesota and Colorado State) are the only FCS teams to defeat FBS opponents each of the last two years.
• The team’s first two games were on grass but the last nine will be played on artificial turf.
• If the pressure of being a college kicker was not great enough, junior Edgar Castaneda has been thrust into the media spotlight during the week for his efforts on the field and his reward following the game.
• After making the game-winning 30-yard field goal to beat Colorado, Castaneda was told by head coach Marshall Sperbeck, and in front of the team, that we would be given a partial athletic scholarship.
• That story spread quickly around the internet and social media and has seen Castaneda recognized on ESPN’s College Football Final and Yahoo! as well as by national writers Stewart Mandel of CNNSI.com and Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com.
• On the field, Castaneda was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts and also made each of his three extra points against the Buffaloes. That performance earned him co-Big Sky Conference ROOT SPORTS Special Teams Player of the Week as well as NCAA.com FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week.
• On the year, Castaneda is 5-for-6 on field goals and leads the team with 19 total points. His average of 2.5 field goals per game is tied for the best in the FCS this season.
SAFRON EARNS CONFERENCE HONOR
• Sophomore Garrett Safron was named co-Big Sky Conference ROOT SPORTS Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career after leading the Hornets to a 30-28 come-from-behind win at Colorado.
• Safron set career highs for completions (25), attempts (37) and yards (312) while guiding the Hornets on a 9-play, 72-yard drive which ended with Castaneda’s 30-yard field goal as time expired. He also matched his career high with two touchdown passes.
• Safron’s performance against the Buffaloes followed a 308 yard effort at New Mexico State. He became the first Hornet to accomplish the feat since Ryan Leadingham did it against Eastern Washington (305) and Humboldt State (324) in 2002.
• A third straight 300-yard game would make Safron the third QB in Hornet history to achieve the feat. Corbin’s streak came in three consecutive home games where he passed for 302 against UC Davis, a school-record 406 against Saint Mary’s and 354 against Southern Utah in 1995. Leadingham had 314 at Cal State Northridge, a career-high 374 vs. Northern Arizona and 312 at Portland State in the final three games of 2001.
• Safron’s quarterback efficiency of 154.56 ranks 11th in the FCS this season while his average of 312.5 yards per game places him fourth.
• In just two games this season, Safron has already surpassed all his passing numbers from a year ago. As a redshirt freshman, he appeared in five games (starting three) and was 24-of-57 for 394 yards and three touchdowns.
FRESH FACES IN THE END ZONE
• All five of Sacramento State’s touchdowns in 2012 have been scored by players who had previously never found the end zone for the Hornets prior to this year.
• Against New Mexico State, sophomore receiver DeAndre Carter and senior tight end T.J. Knowles each caught touchdown passes.
• At Colorado, Carter scored his second before senior running back A.J. Ellis and tight end Chris Broadnax each crossed the goal line.
• The only players on the roster with a career touchdown for Sacramento State before 2012 are Safron (3 rush), Norrise (8 receiving all in 2010), senior running back Sam McCowan (5 rush, 1 rec.) and junior tight end DJ Maciel (2 rec.).
WORTH THE WAIT
• Robert Beale joined the Sacramento State program in the fall of 2009 after earning all-Central California Conference honors at Turlock’s Pitman High School. The transition to college football began with Beale redshirting during the 2009 season. He then was an active member of the team the last two years but did not record a tackle in limited playing time.
• This past spring, Beale took advantage of a secondary which was without several players due to injuries and graduation. Those skills continued into training camp where he earned the starting job at free safety.
• Through the first two games of the year, Beale leads the team with 19 tackles, including a tackle-for-loss.
• At Colorado, he tied for the team high with 10 stops along with linebacker Henry Fernandez.
• Fernandez has primarily played on special teams during his first two seasons where he had compiled 40 career tackles prior to 2012. At CU, he saw extended time on the field as the Hornets played three linebackers to counter the Buffs running game.
• His 10 tackles doubled his previous best of five which came last season against Montana State and UC Davis.
• After a rough start to the game which saw Colorado score twice in the first seven minutes, the Sacramento State defense clamped down for the remainder of the game.
• The Buffs traveled 75 yards on their opening drive and added a second TD drive of 72 yards. From that point, CU amassed just 194 over the final 52 minutes of the game. During that stretch, Colorado averaged just 3.73 yards per play.
• When the Buffaloes were able to drive into Hornet territory, Sacramento State held the team to 50 yards on 23 plays (2.17 ypp) during that same stretch.
• On paper Sacramento State has allowed a respectable three sacks through the first two games. Upon further examination, that number does not give the offensive line enough credit.
• The only true sack surrendered by the line came in the early going at Colorado. The other two were charged to the team despite the fact that Safron was not tackled.
• The first came at New Mexico State where the ball fell out of Safron’s hand while attempting a pass. The ball was recovered by the Aggies resulting in a sack and fumble.
• In the most recent game, Safron was called for intentional grounding which is also credited as a sack.
• The Hornets have played just six offensive linemen all year. Vince Weaver (left guard), Devonte Martin (left tackle), Clay DePauw (center) and Tyler Worthley (right guard) have started both games. At right tackle, sophomore Lars Hanson started at NMSU and redshirt freshman Aleksandar Milanovic earned the start at Colorado.
• Milanovic was one of six Hornets to make their first career start for Sacramento State at Colorado. Along with the tackle was tight end Chris Broadnax who caught a career best five passes for 92 with a 35-yard touchdown.
• On the defensive side of the ball, the Hornets started Ben Cowger and Trent Eskew at end and Nathan Castro at nose tackle. Cowger finished with five tackles, including three for loss and a sack. Eskew had two stops and Castro contributed one.
• Redshirt freshman Joshua Armstrong not only made his first start, he was also playing in his first collegiate game. Armstrong finished the game with two tackles and a pass breakup.
• Fellow redshirt Justin Cox did not start but also made his first appearance with the Hornets. Cox caught one pass for nine yards.
SHARING THE SACKS
• Sacramento State currently leads the Big Sky and is eighth in the FCS with seven sacks (3.5 per game). The odd part is that each sack has been made by a different player.
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.
• For $10 patrons will receive salad, entree, bread, desert and drink.