FOOTBALL TAKES ON WEBER STATE FOR HOMECOMING ON SATURDAY
A BRIEF PREVIEW
Winners of four of its last five games and off to its best start in the Div. I-AA/FCS era, the Sacramento State football team returns home to face Weber State on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Hornet Stadium. The game, which will also serve as the University’s Homecoming, will kick off at 6:05 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.
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.
The Hornets improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Sky Conference play with a 27-22 victory at Southern Utah. Quarterback Garrett Safron rushed for two touchdowns and threw another and the defense came up big late in the game to secure the win. Sacramento State held SUU to just seven yards in the fourth quarter and Jeff Badger intercepted Brad Sorensen with just over a minute to play to secure the victory.
The win provided the Hornets with their third straight road win — matching the longest streak since the 1991 team opened the year with three consecutive wins away from home. A victory over Weber State this weekend would extend the team’s overall win streak to three games and also give Sacramento State its best start to a season since the 1992 team opened the year 5-2.
Weber State stands at 0-6 overall and 0-3 in Big Sky play after a 45-23 loss to undefeated Cal Poly on Friday night. Against the Mustangs, WSU ran 95 plays for 528 yards compared to 51 plays for 345 yards by Cal Poly.
The Wildcats have been outscored by an average of 20.8 points per game (38.5-17.7). However, the Wildcats have faced Fresno State and BYU of the FBS as well as FCS nationally-ranked McNeese State, Eastern Washington and Cal Poly.
Quarterback Mike Hoke returns to lead the WSU offense for the second consecutive years. Hoke is averaging 195.0 passing yards per game with six touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Weber State holds an 11-5 lead in the all-time series. The Hornets are 5-3 against the Wildcats in games played at Hornet Stadium.
• Sacramento State is looking to open Big Sky play 3-1 for the first time in school history.
• Ten different Sacramento State players have scored touchdowns this season.
BADGER NAMED POW
• Senior linebacker Jeff Badger was named the ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Conference co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 8. The honor was the first for Badger during his career.
• In the Hornets’ 27-22 victory at Southern Utah, Badger led the team with 12 tackles, including five solo stops. He also had a sack and secured the victory with an interception in the final minutes.
• This year, Badger ranks third on the team with 44 total tackles and is tied for the team lead with a pair of interceptions. His 171 career tackles place him 20th in school history.
• The Windsor, Calif., native is the fourth Sacramento State player to earn the conference award this year. Quarterback Garrett Safron was the offensive selection following the victory at Colorado and defensive back Osagie Odiase was picked for his effort against Northern Colorado. Kicker Edgar Castaneda earned the special teams award twice (Colorado and Idaho State).
• A four-year contributor and three-year starter, Badger is currently tied for the team lead with 28 consecutive starts. His total matches junior Tyler Worthley who has started every game of his career at guard.
• As a freshman, Badger bounced from defense to offense and back to defense. He finished the season with 29 rush attempts for 109 yards and a touchdown
DYNAMIC DUO PART II
• A week after Ezekiel Graham and A.J. Ellis each rushed for over 100 yards at Idaho State, it was a duo on the other side of the ball that earned notoriety.
• Badger and fellow linebacker Todd Davis each moved into the top 20 in career tackles following their performances at Southern Utah.
• Like Badger, Davis has started each game over the last two years. He led the team in 2011 with 96 total tackles. His 2012 tally of 56 is also a team high.
OUT OF THE GATES
• Sacramento State’s 4-2 start to the season matches the school’s strongest beginning to a year in the Div. I-AA/FCS era. The last team to equal that start was in 1999.
• A victory this weekend against Weber State would make the Hornets 5-2 for the first time since 1992.
• Helping the Hornets to the strong start has been a road record of 3-1. After losing at New Mexico State to start the season, Sacramento State has reeled off victories at Colorado, Idaho State and Southern Utah. The three road victories are the most by any Hornet team since 2000.
• The last time a Sacramento State team won three consecutive road games came in 1991 when the team began the year with road wins at Pacific, Montana State and Abilene Christian. That stretch is more impressive when you consider the Hornets were still competing at Div. II while UOP and MSU were at Div. I-A and Div. I-AA, respectively.
• That season, the team recorded five road victories which is tied for the school record.
• Marshall Sperbeck now owns a career road record of 12-22. Since losing eight of his first nine away from home, the Hornets are 11-13 in his last 24 road games.
• In Big Sky road games, Sperbeck is 9-13 in his six years. Dating back to the final road game of 2007 — a Hail Mary victory at Northern Colorado — Sperbeck’s team’s are 9-10 in Big Sky road games.
SECOND HALF SHUTDOWN
• Over the last two games — both Hornet victories — Sacramento State has outscored the opposition, 47-14 in the second half.
• At Idaho State, the Hornets pulled away from a 27-23 halftime advantage to defeat the Bengals 54-31.
• This past week at Southern Utah, Sacramento State overcame a 16-7 halftime deficit to win 27-22.
• In shutting down the T-Birds, the Hornet defense surrendered just seven yards of total offense in the fourth quarter. SUU’s first two possessions of the fourth quarter resulted in 3-and-outs. The first drive saw the team gain five yards while the second drive picked up two yards. The final drive had two incompletions before Badger intercepted Sorensen.
• The defensive effort has been pivotal in the Hornets overcoming deficits heading into the fourth quarter at both Colorado and Southern Utah. Prior to this season, Sacramento State had won just one of 27 games when trailing after three quarters.
GIVE ME FIVE
• The Sacramento State offensive line used just five players for the entire game at Southern Utah. The unit braved the 5,000-foot elevation at Cedar City and surrendered just one sack on 67 plays.
• With senior tackle Vince Weaver out with an ankle injury, Sacramento State turned to a pair of freshmen at tackle. Lars Hanson earned the nod at left tackle while Aleksandar Milanovic played on the right side. Those two were joined by junior Tyler Worthley and sophomore Devonte Martin at guard and senior center Clay DePauw. The Hornets have used just six players the entire season on the front line.
• This season, the Hornets have allowed just six sacks in six games for a total of 59 yards. The average of 1.00 sacks allowed per game is tied for the 14th best in the FCS this season.
• Among schools who have averaged at least 33.0 pass attempts per game, Sacramento State is tied for fourth in the FCS.
• Among the six sacks allowed have been two situations where the quarterback has not been hit. 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. At Colorado, Safron was called for intentional grounding which is also credited as a sack.
• Sacramento State ranks second in the Big Sky and is tied for 21st nationally with 2.67 sacks per game (16 in six games).
• That total has been a complete team effort as 12 different Hornets have a sack on the year.
• Leading the charge is linebacker Henry Fernandez, defensive tackle Matt Lawrence and defensive ends Avery White and Trent Eskew who each have two.
• The school record for sacks in a season during the Div. I-AA/FCS era is 33 which came in 2004 and 2007.
• The overall school record is 53 in 1986.
• Junior punter Justin Weldon is averaging 45.7 yards per punt on 18 attempts this season. If Weldon met the NCAA minimum, he would rank fifth in the FCS.
• Sam McCowan had a 45-yard kick return at Idaho State and De’Jon Coleman had a 41-yard effort at Southern Utah.
• Norrise is averaging 17.8 yards per punt return on his four returns over the last two games.
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.
• For $10 patrons will receive salad, entree, bread, desert and drink.
HORNET FOOTBALL WEEKLY
• Hornet Football Weekly will air every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast channel 104 and repeat on Saturdays at noon. Each week host Jason Ross will be joined by head coach Marshall Sperbeck, a player and an athletic department guest.