FOOTBALL HOSTS NORTHERN COLORADO IN FINAL HOME GAME OF THE SEASON
The Sacramento State football team brings its two-game winning streak into Hornet Stadium for the final time this season on Sat., Nov. 15, when the Hornets take on Northern Colorado at 2:05 p.m. The game will mark the final home game of the year for Sacramento State. The team will honor its seniors prior to kickoff.
There will be numerous ways to watch or listen to this week’s game. Hornet fans can tune in to KRJY 1240 AM to hear the radio call of Jason Ross, Steve McElory and Danny Sullivan. Live audio streaming is also available via www.hornetsports.com. Live video streaming can also be seen on www.bigskytv.org.
The Hornets enter the week with a 5-5 overall record, marking the first time the team has been at .500 since it was 3-3 on Oct. 4. Most recently, Sacramento State defeated UC Davis, 29-19, in the 55th-annual Causeway Classic at Aggie Stadium. The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Aggies which dated back to 2000.
Against the Aggies, Jason Smith and Tony Washington connected on three touchdown passes and Smith also ran for another score to help him earn Big Sky Conference co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. Defensively, the Hornets forced three turnovers and stopped UC Davis on 4-of-5 fourth down attempts.
A victory over the Bears would assure Sacramento State of a non-losing season for just the fourth time since moving to Div. I-AA/FCS in 1993. The team was 5-5 in 1994, 6-5 in 1999 and 7-4 in 2000. A win would also give the Hornets a three-game in-season winning streak for the first time since the opening three games of 1992.
Northern Colorado is 1-8 overall and 1-5 in Big Sky games. Despite their overall record, the Bears have been in most games, losing five games by seven points or less.
The Hornets lead the all-time series, 2-0. That includes last season’s last-second touchdown reception by Tony Washington which led to a 20-17 victory.
• Sacramento State has not allowed a sack in two consecutive weeks.
• The Hornets are plus-4 in turnovers over the last two games. The team has intercepted four passes and recovered one fumble while only throwing one interception during the same span.
• Jason Smith was named the Big Sky co-Offensive Player of the Week for his effort against UC Davis. He is the fourth Hornet chosen as a player of the week this year.
One Final Time
Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, Sacramento State will honor 14 seniors who will be playing their final game at Hornet Stadium. The list is dominated by defensive players as nine of the 14 come from that side of the ball. The other players are comprised of three offensive players and two from special teams.
The group also includes six players who have earned all-Big Sky honors during their careers, two All-Americans (Mulitalo and Brannon), three fifth-year seniors and four fourth-year seniors.
Below is a complete list of the 2008 senior class:
No. Name, Pos. , Hometown
1 Juan Gamboa, K, San Jose, Calif.
2 Kevin Davis, DB, Long Beach, Calif.
3 Mike Brannon, LB, Rancho Cordova, Calif.
6 Torrell Baker, WR, Long Beach, Calif.
7 Mike Hickman, LB, Millbrae, Calif.
13 Tony Washington, WR, Simi Valley, Calif.
18 Faheem Muhammad, LB, Los Angeles, Calif.
22 Ryan Battle, DB, Oakland, Calif.
36 Jared Vanderbeek, DB, Granite Bay, Calif.
42 Cyrus Mulitalo, LB, San Leandro, Calif.
46 Chris Alvarado, LB, Oakland, Calif.
76 Ray Navar, OL, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
86 Oscar De Alba, P, Harbor City, Calif.
93 John Garth, DL, Hollywood, Calif.
Causeway Classic Notes
• The victory for the Hornets was the first over UC Davis since 1999.
• The win in Davis was the first for Sacramento State since 1996.
• Sacramento State’s 29 points scored were the most for the Hornets in the game since posting 48 in 1999.
• Tony Washington’s three receiving touchdowns tied the most by a Hornet in the Causeway Classic. The mark is shared by Mitch Oliver in 1995.
• The Hornets became only the second team all season to have more time of possession than the Aggies. Sacramento State held the ball for 31:43. UC Davis entered the game leading Div. I-AA/FCS.
Holding Their Own
The Sacramento State offensive line continued its improvement against UC Davis by not allowing a sack for the second straight game. The Hornets began their streak at Eastern Washington where they kept FCS leader Greg Peach off of the quarterback for the entire game. This past weekend, the team also blanked UC Davis despite the fact that the Aggies entered the game ranked 21st nationally.
The line currently consists of center John Taylor, guards Patrick Walsh and Matt Lemley and tackles Ray Navar and Clint Lessard. Peter Lenz has also seen considerable time this season at tackle.
Not Without a Price
While the victory at UC Davis was exceptional, the Hornets did leave with a few bumps and bruises. Most notably, quarterback Jason Smith left in the fourth quarter after re-aggravating his ankle injury. Cornerback Deionte Gordon and linebacker Mike Brannon also had ankle injuries against the Aggies but returned to the field and receiver Tony Washington broke his nose.
One amazing story came at cornerback where senior Kevin Davis played after missing five of the previous seven games with a significant knee injury. Despite needing surgery, Davis played the game with a knee brace and finished with four total tackles, forced a fumble and broke up a pass.
One of the biggest differences from last season to this year for Sacramento State is its ability to hold on to the football. Last season, the Hornets set a school record by finishing the year minus-14 in turnover margin. Conversely, the team is plus-4 in 2008.
The biggest change can be credited to Jason Smith who threw 17 interceptions as a freshman compared to three this season. The defense has also increased its interception total from six in 11 games in 2007 to 10 through the first 10 games of 2008.
Four of those 10 picks have come in the last two weeks. Deionte Gordon and Robert Virgil each intercepted EWU’s Matt Nichols, and Cyrus Mulitalo and Peter Buck had picks of UCD’s Greg Denham. Buck also intercepted a two-point conversion attempt at EWU but it does not count towards his season total.
A Look at the Bears
• Quarterback Bryan Waggener leads the NC offense. The transfer from Florida has completed 55.0 percent of his passes and has 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions…linebacker Cristian Sarmento leads the Big Sky with 117 total tackles.