FOOTBALL TRAVELS TO TOP-RANKED EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY
A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will put its three-game win streak up against the best when it travels to Cheney, Wash., to take on top-ranked Eastern Washington on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Roos Field.
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 SWX and can be seen online via bigskytv.org. The SWX broadcast can be seen in the Sacramento area on Comcast Hometown (Channel 104) and will feaure Sam Adams and Bill Ames on the call. BigSkyTV.org broadcasts are free to watch but fans must create a username and password prior to the start of the game.
The Hornets are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Sky Conference following a hard-fought 19-14 victory over Weber State. Sacramento State is off to its best start in over 20 years and is 3-1 in conference play for the first time in school history.
Garrett Safron threw for two touchdowns and true freshman De’jon Coleman rushed for a career high 74 yards to lead the offense. The defense limited the Wildcats to 237 yards of total offense and tallied five sacks.
Eastern Washington jumped from sixth to first in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls after winning 27-24 at then-No. 2 Montana State. The Eagles (5-1, 4-0) used a blocked punt for a touchdown and an interception return for a score to earn the win.
Redshirt freshman Vernon Adams has taken over at quarterback for the last three games where he has thrown for 724 yards and eight touchdowns. Adams has one of the most talented receiving corps in the FCS for targets including All-American Brandon Kaufman (30 rec., 609 yds., 7 TD) and Greg Herd.
Like Sacramento State, EWU has a win over an FBS opponent as it defeated Idaho, 20-3, in the season opener.
The game will be the first against the No. 1 team in the FCS for Sacramento State since hosting Montana in 2007.
Eastern Washington leads the all-time series, 16-4. However, each of the Hornets’ four victories in the series have come in Cheney where the Eagles hold a 5-4 edge.
EVERY WHICH WAY
• Sacramento State scored every possible point combination in the win over Weber State. The Hornets had a pair of touchdowns, two extra points, a safety and a field goal.
• The safety, which came when Weber State snapped the ball over the head of the punter and out of the back of the end zone, was the first scored by the team since recovering their own fumble in the end zone against Montana in 2009.
• The game also featured a pair of unusual special teams plays by Sacramento State. The first came when backup quarterback Mason Magleby came into the game and kicked a rugby-style punt 52 yards which was downed at the 1-yard line. That punt directly led to the safety.
• The second came late in the game when punter Justin Weldon connected with Shane Harrison for an 11-yard completion on a fake punt.
INTO THE BOOKS
• Edgar Castaneda’s 22-yard field goal in the third quarter against Weber State gave the junior 10 on the season. That total ties Castaneda for 10th place in school single season history.
• With four games to play, the Alameda, Calif., native is within striking distance of the school record of 14 which is held by Bret LeVier (2002) and Scott Brown (1999).
• This week’s game will pit two of the top four kick return teams in the FCS against one another as Sacramento State ranks fourth at 28.17 yards per return and EWU is the national leader at 30.25.
• The Hornets are the highest ranked team in the FCS that does not have a return for a touchdown this season. However, three players have a return of at least 40 yards led by DeAndre Carter’s 66-yard scamper following a free kick against Weber State.
• Sacramento State has allowed 19.8 yards per kick return this season with a long 43 yards.
• Sparking a strong defensive effort from Sacramento State in the win over Weber State were three Hornets who each had 10-plus tackles. Leading the way were linebackers Jeff Badger and Todd Davis who each recorded 11 stops. Safety Ryan McMahon added 10 tackles.
• The trio have been the three leading tacklers on the team for the last two seasons. In 2011, Davis led the team with 96 total tackles. McMahon was second with 86 and Badger ranked third with 85.
• This year, Davis holds the team lead with 67 tackles, including a team-high 8.5 for loss. McMahon has 63 stops and Badger has 55.
• Davis and Badger each moved up a spot in the Sacramento State record books and now rank 18th and 19th, respectively.
A LITTLE BIT TOUGHER
• Based on winning percentage, Sacramento State’s final four games are the toughest schedule in the FCS, according to NCAA.org.
• The Hornets begin the streak against Eastern Washington (5-1) before playing host to Cal Poly (6-0) and Montana State (6-1). The final game of the year comes at UC Davis (3-4). Combined the four opponents have a 20-6 overall record.
• Conversely, Sacramento State’s first seven games ranked last (121st) in the FCS based on winning percentage. The NCAA rankings, however, do not take into account the level of play of the opponent. Therefore a one-win Colorado team would rank far lower than an six-win NAIA opponent.
• 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
• For the last three games — all Hornet victories — Sacramento State has outscored the opposition, 59-28 in the second half.
• At Idaho State, the Hornets pulled away from a 27-23 halftime advantage to defeat the Bengals 54-31.
• A week later 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 streak continued against Weber State where Sacramento State broke a 7-7 tie at intermission to win, 19-14.
• 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.
• Sacramento State added a season-high five sacks to its total and now has 21 on the season. Last season, the Hornets had 24 sacks in 11 games. The most sacks in a season during the Div. I-AA/FCS era are 33 in both 2004 and 2007.
• Against WSU, junior Trent Eskew led the charge with two sacks. Eskew became the first Hornet this year to have more than one sack in a game. Todd Davis, Markell Williams and Ben Cowger were also able to get to the quarterback during the game.
• This year, 12 different Sacramento State players have at least one sack. Eskew is the overall leader with four while six others have two.
O ON D
• Junior Osagie Odiase’s interception in the third quarter against Weber State not only halted the Wildcats’ drive but placed the junior in the top 10 in school history.
• The interception was Odiase’s team-leading third of the season and his seventh of his career. That total ties him for 10th place in career history at Sacramento State.
• This season, Odiase ranks fourth on the team with 45 tackles. He also had three tackles-for-loss, a sack, seven pass breakups, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
• The 45 tackles are also a personal season high. The Santa Fe Springs, Calif., native had 41 as a freshman and 44 last season.
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.