FOOTBALL HOSTS IDAHO STATE IN FINAL GAME ON SATURDAY
Following its amazing last second win at Northern Colorado last weekend, the Sacramento State football team will close out its 2007 season at home against Idaho State on Saturday, Nov. 17. The game against the Bengals will kick off at 2:05 p.m. PST.
Prior to the start of the contest, Sacramento State will honor 19 seniors who will be playing their final game for the Hornets.
The contest can be heard locally on KSAC 1240 AM with Jason Ross handling the play-by-play and Steve McElroy adding the color commentary. For those outside the greater Sacramento area, the game will also be available on the internet at www.hornetsports.com and on KSAC’s website (www.1240talkcity.com).
The Hornets enter the week with a 2-8 overall record and a 2-5 Big Sky Conference mark. Last Saturday, the team defeated Northern Colorado, 20-17, on the final play of the game when Tony Washington grabbed a tipped pass in the back of the end zone on a Hail Mary. In the game, Sacramento State also recorded two 100-yard rushers as Bryan Hilliard ran for a career-high 168 yards and Travon Jones contributed 130.
Idaho State dropped to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the Big Sky after losing to Montana, 27-14. The Bengals tied the team at 14-14 when JD Ponciano returned a kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. However, from that point, the Griz scored 13 unanswered to remain unbeaten on the year.
The game will pit two of the four first-year Big Sky head coaches against one another. Idaho State is led by John Zamberlin who most recently coached at Central Washington. The Bengals’ offensive coordinator is Mike Orthmann, who coached Sacramento State’s offensive line last season.
Sacramento State holds a 6-5 lead in the all-time series against Idaho State. The Hornets claimed a 22-14 win last season in Pocatello, Idaho, to retake the lead in the series. In 2005, the Bengals won 27-17 at Hornet Stadium — marking their first win in Sacramento in five tries.
• Sacramento State will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. The last time the team recorded consecutive victories was last season with wins over Northern Colorado and Idaho State.
• Hilliard and Jones became the first Hornet duo to each rush for 100 yards in a game since Arie Joseph and Pedro Lewis did it against Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) in 1993.
• Sacramento State had not won a game on the final play since Jimmy Sanchez kicked a field goal to defeat Eastern Washington, 25-22, in Cheney, Wash., in 2000.
A Look at the Hornets
So Hard to Say Goodbye
Prior to Saturday’s game against Idaho State, Sacramento State will honor 19 seniors who will be playing their final game with the Hornets. The list includes seven players who played all four years of their collegiate careers with the Green and Gold. Below is a list of all 19 players
# - Player, Pos , Exp. , Hometown
11 - Tim Bessolo, QB, 3V, Lakewood
50 - Johnnie Brannon, LB, 2V, Rancho Cordova
53 - Lamont Butler, DL, 2V, San Diego
17 - Ryan Coogler, WR, 3V, Richmond
14 - Tyler Fanucchi, WR, 3V, Claremont
97 - Tristan Gray, DL, 1V, Sacramento
91 - James Henderson, DL, 4V, Sacramento
26 - Jeremy Henderson, DB, 2V, San Diego
51 - Chris Hurts, DL, 4V , San Leandro
93 - Blaine Jackson, DL, 2V, Fallbrook
10 - Jody Johnson, DB, 4V, Corona
57 - Kyle Leitzke, OL, 2V, Rancho Buena Vista
88 - Jeremiah Mareko, OL, 2V, Kona, Hawaii
92 - Dallas Mauga, DL, 2V, San Diego
2 - Phillip Perry, WR, 4V, Los Angeles
95 - Joe Rudulph, DL, 2V, Sacramento
25 - Brett Shelton , DB, 4V, Bakersfield
31 - Brent Webber, DB, 4V, Sanger
5 - Crosby Wehr, WR, 4V, Roseville
What a Difference a Week Makes
One week after throwing the ball 52 times against UC Davis, Sacramento State reverted back to old school, smash mouth football against Northern Colorado. The Hornets rushed the ball 54 times for a season high 312 yards.
The yardage output was the most by the team since compiling 350 at Eastern Washington on Oct. 26, 2002.
Individually, the tandem of Bryan Hilliard and Travon Jones also made history by becoming the first duo to each record 100-yard games since Arie Joseph and Pedro Lewis rushed for 172 and 161 yards, respectively, against Cal State Hayward on Sept. 4, 1993.
Hilliard and Jones have been stellar in recent weeks. The pair have now combined for six 100-yard games this season — three each. They’re only the third duo in school history, and the first since 1985, to each record multiple 100-yard games in a season.
The last pair of backs to perform the feat were Donald Hair and Rob Harrison in 1985. That season, Hair had six 100-yard games while Harrison had four.
In 1983, John Farley recorded three 100-yard games and Dennis Taylor had two.
Less is More
With the ground game working at Northern Colorado, Jason Smith was not forced to throw nearly as much as he has in recent weeks. Smith threw just 14 passes in the game, completing nine (64.3 percent). In fact, the Hornets threw only one ball in the first quarter — which was credited as a lateral — and none in the third.
While his number of attempts was down, he picked the right time to get hot. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, he found Dylan Lane for a 39-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline and then connected with Washington for the game winner.
His 117 passing yards snapped a two-game streak in which he had at least 250 yards. That streak began against Eastern Washington where he had a career high 396 yards. Not only did Smith record his first 300-yard passing game, his yardage total tied Marcel Marquez for second place in school history. (Marquez’s effort came last season at Idaho State). His total was also just 10 yards shy of Tony Corbin’s mark of 40 which came against Saint Mary’s on Nov. 4, 1995.
Against UC Davis, Smith attempted 52 passes to become the first QB in school history to record two 50-plus pass games in the same season. Earlier this year, he had 50 attempts in a loss to Montana.
Against UCD, Smith completed 23 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. However, he was also intercepted three times by the Aggies, including twice in the fourth quarter.
He enters this week game needing 325 yards to crack the top 10 in single season passing yards in school history. He will also record top 10 single season marks in attempts and completions.
Senior Brett Shelton will assume his normal position on Saturday, starting at free safety in the Hornet secondary. The Bakersfield, Calif., native knows nothing else as he has started all 43 games of his career.
Shelton’s 44th start will tie him with center Terance Wagner for the most in the school’s Div. I-AA/FCS era. Wagner started every game from 1998-01.
Shelton enters this week ranked second in school history with 323 career tackles and third with 175 unassisted tackles. He has also been honored by the league’s coaches all three years, earning second team all-Big Sky honors following his freshman and sophomore seasons and honorable mention accolades last year.
Strong safety Brent Webber has been near Shelton’s side for nearly every game the last four years. Webber has started every game this season, raising his career total to 39 starts.
The Sanger, Calif., native will leave Sacramento State ranked among the all-time greats for the program in both tackles and interceptions. Last season, he earned All-America honors after intercepting six passes in his 10 games.
A Look at the Bengals
• Idaho State has lost four of its last five games, including a 27-14 setback against Montana on Saturday. The Bengals’ lone win during that span came against Portland State, 48-28. In that game, ISU scored two defensive touchdowns.
• Running back Josh Barnett needs just 35 yards to eclipse 1,000 yards this season. Barnett has carried the ball 189 times for 965 yards and two touchdowns.
• Russel Hill and Luke Butler have each seen time at quarterback. Hill has appeared in all 10 games and has thrown 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. Butler has played in five games and has four picks without a TD. Their favorite target has been Sacramento native Eddie Thompson who has 74 catches for 809 yards and five TDs.
• Linebacker Ryan Phipps leads the team with 98 total tackles. That mark includes 11.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks.
Big Sky Notes
• The Big Sky selected Eastern Washington QB Matt Nichols as the Offensive Player of the Week. Nichols threw for 317 yards and five touchdowns.
Montana State cornerback Michael Beach and EWU defensive lineman Jason Belford shared the defensive award.
Montana kicker Dan Carpenter earned the special teams award.