FOOTBALL HOSTS IDAHO STATE IN FINAL BIG SKY GAME OF THE YEAR
A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team returns to Hornet Stadium for its final two games of 2011, beginning on Saturday, Nov. 12, against Idaho State. The game against the Bengals kicks off at 6:05 p.m.
Sacramento State enters with a 3-6 overall record and a 2-5 mark in Big Sky Conference games after a 29-20 loss at Portland State on Nov. 5. The Hornets struggled offensively in the game but were aided by an interception return for a TD from Kyle Monson and a fumble recovery which led to another score.
The loss was the third in a row for Sacramento State which stood at 3-3 after its first six games with victories over Oregon State and Montana. However, a rash of injuries has decimated the projected starting lineup leaving the team with three painful losses, including one in overtime and another by one point.
At 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the Big Sky, Idaho State has struggled in Mike Kramer’s first year at the helm. However, the Bengals boast one of the best pass attacks in the nation. Wide receiver Roderick Rumble leads the Football Championship Subdivision with 98 receptions through nine games. To put his accomplishments into perspective, Rumble’s reception total would rank eighth in Sacramento State school history for a career. The Bengals have completed 285-of-475 pass attempts this year. Those numbers give ISU 29 more completions than Sacramento State has pass attempts in 2011.
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 broadcast will begin at 5:45 p.m.
The game will be not televised but can be viewed for free on www.bigskytv.org. Fans must create a username and password prior to watching a Big Sky event.
Marshall Sperbeck is in his fifth season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 23-31 overall record. The Sacramento native also serves as the team’s offensive coordinator. For a complete bio, please see page 2.
Idaho State is coached by Mike Kramer, who returned to the Big Sky Conference this season. Kramer, who has been the head coach at Eastern Washington and Montana State, owns a 79-81 overall record.
Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 9-6, and has been 6-1 in games played at Hornet Stadium. The Hornets have won the last two matchups and have outscored the Bengals 83-34 during that stretch. Sacramento State’s lone loss in the last five years against ISU came in a 36-33 overtime loss in 2008.
• For the fourth time in his two-year career, and the second time in as many weeks, senior cornerback Kyle Monson found the end zone on a touchdown return.
• This past week at Portland State, Monson made an acrobatic one-handed catch of a pass which was tipped by a Viking receiver. Once he gathered it in, he had a clear course to the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown.
• The previous week against Northern Arizona, Monson tipped a Cary Grossart pass just past midfield, gathered in the deflection and then traveled 49-yard down the sideline for a TD.
• Since 1980, Monson is only the second Hornet player to return multiple interceptions for touchdowns in a single season — joining Ed Canonico (1999).
• In 2010, Monson had a pair of touchdowns. His first came on a 70-yard punt return against Stanford. The return was his first punt return as a Hornet.
• Later in the year, he scored on a 68-yard interception at Idaho State.
• Monson’s fourth career touchdowns are the most by a defensive player on the team. He also has the sixth most career touchdowns by any active player on the roster.
• His three career interception return touchdowns are the most by any Hornet player in school history. The previous mark of two had been held by Marvin Brown (1994-95), Canonico (1998-2001), Ken Wilkerson (1985-86) and Gary Lunsford (1987-88).
• With four returning running backs and one of the best receiving corps in the Big Sky, the Sacramento State quarterbacks were not expected to be the primary source on the ground in 2011.
• However, over the last three weeks, the Hornet signal callers have also led the team in rushing yards.
• The streak began against Eastern Washington where freshman Garrett Safron gained 100 yards and scored a TD while splitting snaps with Tommy Edwards.
• A week later, Northern Arizona did a great job of slowing the Sacramento State ground attack and Safron was again the leading rusher with 19 yards.
• This past weekend, Jeff Fleming returned to gain a team-high 78 yards. Fleming’s total was helped by a 38-yard gain but was also hurt by four sacks which resulted in a loss of 28 yards.
• This year, Hornet QBs have amassed 505 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME
• One of the more interesting battles toward the end of the season is for the leader in team tackles. Linebacker Todd Davis and safety Ryan McMahon are separated by just two stops with two games to play.
• Davis enters this week with 76 total tackles, including 37 solos. The Palmdale, Calif., native has started every game and has also made 4.5 tackles-for-loss, forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass.
• As a freshman, Davis made 21 tackles while playing as a defensive end.
• McMahon has 74 tackles with 41 coming as solos. The junior also has 2.5 TFLs and five pass breakups.
• Prior to coming to Sacramento State, McMahon played two seasons at USC. With the Trojans, McMahon led the team in special teams tackles.
NEW START TIME FOR CAUSEWAY
• The kickoff time for the 58th Causeway Classic has been moved to 1:05 p.m. to accommodate television.
• The game will be televised by Comcast SportsNet California for the fourth consecutive season.