ELEVEN FOOTBALL PLAYERS EARN ALL-BIG SKY HONORS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eleven members of the Sacramento State football team were named all-Big Sky Conference, it was announced today. The first team, second team and honorable mention selections were voted upon by the league's 13 head coaches
The Hornets had three players placed on the second team comprised of wide receiver Morris Norrise, guard Tyler Worthley and cornerback Osagie Odiase.
Norrise led the team with 60 receptions for 777 yards and seven touchdowns. The Berkeley, Calif., native's reception total is tied for fourth in school single-season history. He continued his climb up the career records list at Sacramento State and will enter his senior season ranked second in career receptions (133), fourth in career yards (1,780) and tied for fourth with 15 career touchdowns.
Worthley stretched his career start streak at guard to 33 games — every game of his career. The junior helped pave the way for on offense which rushed for 163.5 yards per game and an offensive line which allowed just 17 sacks on the year.
Odiase started each game this season at cornerback and finished the year with 65 tackles. His three interceptions led Sacramento State and gave him seven for his career. Odiase had at least eight tackles in four games during 2012, including a career high 11 against Northern Colorado and at Eastern Washington. He was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week for his effort against UNC which also included an interception.
Eight Hornets earned honorable mention accolades. On the offensive side the of the ball, the honors went to quarterback Garrett Safron, tight end T.J. Knowles and running back Ezekiel Graham. On defense, defensive tackle Matt Lawrence, defensive end Avery White, inside linebackers Todd Davis and Jeff Badger and safety Ryan McMahon were each recognized.
Safron set the school single-season record for completions (246) and completion percentage (.614), ranked second for touchdowns (22) and attempts (383) and is third in yards (2,540). He was named Big Sky Player of the Week following the team's victories against Colorado and Cal Poly.
Knowles caught 38 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns. His TD total was the most by a Sacramento State tight end since Chris Kelly had six in 1999.
Graham made an immediate impact during his debut season, leading the team with 861 rushing yards and 1,302 all-purpose yards. Graham had three 100-yard rushing games, including 108 in the Causeway Classic against UC Davis. He also ranked second on the team with 40 pass receptions for 406 yards and finished the year with seven total touchdowns.
Lawrence ranked second on the team with 7.5 tackles-for-loss, including three sacks during his senior season. He started the each game over the last two years and made 30 starts during his career.
White led team with 4.5 sacks and was a pivotal part to a defense which tied the school FCS era with 33 sacks. He had 6.5 tackles-for-loss among his 23 total tackles to cap a career which appeared to be over during the first game of 2010 when he suffered a devastating knee injury.
Davis led the team in total tackles for the second consecutive season, posting a career high 103, including a team-best 13.5 TFLs. The junior became the first Hornet linebacker to surpass the 100-tackle plateau since Cyrus Mulitalo in 2006. He ended the year ranked 10th in Hornet career history with 220 tackles.
Badger wrapped up his career with 79 total tackles in 2012. During his time with the Hornets, Badger appeared in all 44 games, starting the final 33 at linebacker. His 206 career tackles place him 13th in the school history. This season, he led the team with three forced fumbles and tied for second with two interceptions. One of those interceptions sealed the victory at Southern Utah and earned him Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week honors.
McMahon ranked second on the team with 97 tackles and concluded his two-year Sacramento State career with 183 total stops. During this past season, he had 50 solo tackles with 3.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception. He had three games with 10-plus tackles, including 14 against North Dakota.
Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee was named the league's Offensive MVP. MSU linebacker Jody Owens was the Defensive MVP and Southern Utah linebacker Zak Browning was presented the Newcomer of the Year.
The Big Sky Coach of the Year award was shared by Cal Poly's Tim Walsh and Beau Baldwin of Eastern Washington.