2011 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE INCLUDES OPENER AT OREGON STATE, RETURN OF NIGHT GAMES
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With 17 returning starters, the 2011 Sacramento State football will be one of the most experienced teams in the Big Sky Conference. That veteran leadership will be put to the test early in the year as the Hornets play five of their first six games away from home, including a pair against defending conference champions and a Pac-10 opponent.
Sacramento State will make its 2011 debut at Oregon State on Sept. 3. The game marks the second time that the Hornets and Beavers have met at Reser Stadium since 2003 and the second consecutive season that the team opens the year at a Pac-10 school (Stanford, 2010).
The Hornets remain on the road for its next two games, playing both contests in Utah. Sacramento State will get its first look at future Big Sky foe Southern Utah since 2004 on Sept. 10 in Cedar City. Last season, the Thunderbirds posted a 6-5 overall record and finished first in the Great West Conference with an undefeated 4-0 mark.
The Sept. 17 game at Weber State will be the Big Sky opener for Sacramento State. The Hornets defeated the Wildcats, 24-17, at home in 2010. Weber State will also be looking to replace four-year starting quarterback Cameron Higgins.
The first home game of 2011 will come on Sept. 24 when perennial power Montana comes to Hornet Stadium. The game will kick off at 6:05 p.m. and will give the Hornets a chance to avenge its 28-25 loss at Montana last season.
Sacramento State immediately returns to the road for two more games away from home. The first comes on Oct. 1 at Big Sky co-champion Montana State and then on Oct. 8 at Northern Colorado. MSU and Sacramento State dueled into overtime before the Bobcats prevailed, 64-61 last season. Montana State advanced to the FCS playoffs and returns Big Sky Player of the Year Denarius McGhee.
The Hornets are a perfect 4-0 all-time against Northern Colorado but have been tested in their last two trips to Nottingham Field. The Bears made a coaching change in the offseason and will now be led by former UNC player Earnest Collins, Jr.
While the first half of the schedule will make the team road warriors, the back half has Sacramento State at home for four of its final five games. Defending national champion Eastern Washington visits Sacramento on Oct. 22. The Hornets and Eagles battled until the final seconds in Cheney, Wash., in 2010 before EWU recorded a 28-24 win.
Northern Arizona will come to town on Oct. 29. The Hornets have won the past two games of the series, including a 40-10 win in Flagstaff, Ariz., against the 25th-ranked Lumberjacks.
The final road game of the year will come on Nov. 5 at Portland State. The game will be the first chance for Sacramento State to play in the newly remodeled PGE Park. The Hornets won in Portland in 2009 and also at home, 28-15, last year.
Sacramento State will end the regular season with a pair of home games. The team faces Idaho State in the Big Sky finale on Nov. 12 at 6:05 p.m. The Hornets have won the past two games against the Bengals. However, ISU is now coached by Big Sky veteran Mike Kramer.
The regular season will come to a close on Nov. 19 with the 58th annual Causeway Classic against UC Davis. The last time the teams met at Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State rallied for a 31-28 victory. The 2011 Causeway Classic will start at 2:05 p.m., marking the only day home game played by the Hornets this season.
2011 Hornet Football Schedule
Sept. 3 at Oregon State
Sept. 10 at Southern Utah
Sept. 17 at Weber State*
Sept. 24 vs. MONTANA*, 6:05 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Montana State*
Oct. 8 at Northern Colorado*
Oct. 22 vs. EASTERN WASHINGTON*, 6:05 p.m.
Oct. 29 vs. NORTHERN ARIZONA*, 6:05 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Portland State*
Nov. 12 vs. IDAHO STATE*, 6:05 p.m.
Nov. 19 vs. UC DAVIS, 2:05 p.m.