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A BRIEF PREVIEW
The Sacramento State football team will play its first game against a fellow Football Championship Subdivision team this season when it welcomes Southern Utah to Hornet Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6:05 p.m. Despite the fact that both schools are members of the Big Sky Conference, the game will not count toward the league standings but will be used in tie-breakers if necessary.
There will be multiple ways to follow this week's game. Hornet fans can tune in to KTKZ 1380 AM (The Answer) 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.
This week's game will not be televised but can be seen on WatchBigSky.com The service is free but requires viewers to register.
The Hornets most recently won an entertaining 63-56 overtime affair against Southern Oregon on Sept. 14. Garrett Safron threw seven touchdowns, including five to DeAndre Carter as each set school records. The pair were big when it mattered most, connecting on a touchdown with one second remaining to tie the game and then again on the first series of overtime.
The victory was the first of the year for Sacramento State (1-2) and followed losses to San Jose State and Arizona State of the FBS.
Southern Utah has faced a schedule similar to the Hornets this season and enter with a 2-1 record. The Thunderbirds began the season with a 22-21 win at South Alabama and were one of eight FCS teams to record wins over FBS opponents on the weekend. SUU has since defeated Fort Lewis (49-0) and lost at Washington State (48-10).
JC transfer Aaron Cantu has taken over at quarterback, replacing Brad Sorensen who is currently a member of the San Diego Chargers. Cantu has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for an average of 155.0 yards per game with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Raysean Martin paces the team with 156 rushing yards. Griff McNabb (9 rec, 116 yds) and Anthony Norris (9 rec, 58 yds, 3 TD) are the leading receivers.
Preseason All-American kicker Colton Cook has established himself as a weapon for the T-Birds. Cook is 4-of-5 on field goals and a perfect 9-for-9 on PATs.
Marshall Sperbeck is in his seventh season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 31-39 overall record. For a complete bio, please see page 2.
Southern Utah is coached by Ed Lamb who is in his sixth season leading the T-Birds. Lamb is 28-30 overall during his tenure.
Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 7-6. The teams played annually from 1986-95 as members of the Western Football Conference and America West Conference. The series returned in 2004 and marked SUU's last appearance at Hornet Stadium. The schools have split the last two meeting with both coming in Cedar City, Utah. SUU won 35-14 in 2011 snapping Sacramento State's momentum just a week after the Hornets defeated Oregon State. Last year, Jeff Badger intercepted Sorensen with under two minutes to play to seal Sacramento State's 27-22 victory.
CARTER NAMED CO-FCS POW
• Sacramento State junior receiver DeAndre Carter was named the Co-Offensive FCS National Player of the Week by The Sports Network, it was announced on Monday.
Carter set the Sacramento State record and tied the Big Sky Conference mark with five receiving touchdowns in Saturday's 63-56 overtime win over Southern Oregon. The San Jose, Calif., native scored his first TD with 5:24 to play in the second quarter with a 12-yard reception. He added his second with just 20 seconds remaining in the period on a 7-yard pass.
Carter put the Hornets up 49-42 midway through the fourth quarter with a 22-yard completion down the right sideline. After SOU rallied to take the lead, Carter forced overtime with a 6-yard touchdown reception in the middle of the end zone with one second remaining.
His record breaking touchdown catch came on the third play of overtime when he was able to get his foot down in the back of the end zone on a 14-yard pass.
• Carter finished the night with a career high 12 receptions for 122 yards. His reception total ties him for third place in school single-game history while his touchdown total broke Chris Kelly's four TD performance at Montana in 1999. The last Hornet to catch more than 12 passes in a game was All-American Fred Amey who had 15 at Eastern Washington in 2004.
• Carter also became just the second Sacramento State player to score five touchdowns in a game, joining Charles Roberts who rushed for five against Idaho State in 1999.
• Prior to the game, Carter had four career touchdowns in 20 games. All four of those TDs came in the first four games of last season.
• Through the first nine quarters of the season, Garrett Safron had not thrown a touchdown. The junior then threw a school record seven over the next three quarters and overtime and is currently averaging 2.3 touchdowns per game.
• Safron's seven passing touchdowns broke Ryan Leadingham's record of six against Idaho State in 2003. It also vaulted him up four spots on the career lists where he is now tied for sixth in Sacramento State history with 32 touchdowns.
• To put the seven touchdowns in perspective, his single-game effort was greater than or equal to the Hornet team leader in four seasons since 1990.
• His 34 completions against Southern Oregon are the second most only behind his 37 from last season's Causeway Classic. He also moved into a tie for third place with 52 pass attempts.
• In his first full year as a starter (2012), Safron set the Sacramento State single season record with 246 completions and a 64.2 completion percentage. He also ranked second with 383 attempts and 22 touchdowns.
• Following the season, Safron was named honorable mention all-Big Sky. His efforts also placed him on the College Football Performance Awards watch list as one of the top quarterbacks in the FCS heading into the 2013 season.
• The Santa Monica, Calif., native was twice named the Big Sky ROOT Sports Offensive Player of the Week. His first honor came after he guided the team to a win at Colorado. Against the Buffaloes, he was 25-of-37 for 317 yards and two touchdowns. He was also honored following the victory over then No. 11 Cal Poly. In that game, Safron completed 31-of-38 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:
Career Passing Yards Total Needs
6. Greg Knapp, 1982-85 3,806 201
7. Drew Wyant, 1986-89 3,800 195
8. Bobby Fresques, 1990-92 3,757 152
9. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 3,605 ---
Career Passing Touchdowns Total Needs
3. Tony Corbin, 1995-96 34 2
Mike Sullivan, 1981-83 34 2
5. Ricky Ray, 1999-2000 33 1
6. Greg Knapp, 1982-85 32 ---
Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 32 ---
Career Passing Attempts Total Needs
7. Lyle James, 1966-68 537 36
8. Greg Knapp, 1982-85 524 23
9. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 501 ---
Career Passing Completions Total Needs
3. Mike Sullivan, 1981-83 365 27
4. Tony Corbin, 1995-96 351 13
5. Ricky Ray, 1999-2000 347 9
6. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 338 ---
• The two teams combined for 119 points, 1,238 yards of total offense, 60 first downs and 17 touchdowns.
• Sacramento State's 63 points are tied for the fourth most in school history and the highest since 2003 when the team scored 69 against Saint Mary's.
• The combined 119 points are the third most in school history. The record of 125 came twice, in a 64-61 win over Cal State Northridge in 2000 and a 64-61 loss to Montana State in 2010.
• Nine touchdowns tied the school record which came against Saint Mary's in 2003.
• Nine PATs by Jesse Aguilar set a school record.
• 101 plays tied the school record which was set in the final game of 2012 at UC Davis.
• 639 yards of total offense ranks second in school history. The school record of 641 came against Idaho State in 2003.
• The 34 first downs broke the school record by three.
• Despite all the offense, the Sacramento State defense was still able to force seven three-and-outs.
• The game marked the first time that the Hornets have been victorious while allowing at least 40 points under Marshall Sperbeck.
• Sacramento State finished the game against Southern Oregon with a fumble and interception dropping the team to minus-8 in turnover differential this season.
• The victory marked only the fourth time in 32 games under Sperbeck that the Hornets were able to win when committing more turnovers than their opponents. In that same span, the team is 27-11 when turnovers are at least equal.
• The last turnover forced by Sacramento State came with 12:01 to play at UC Davis in the final game of last season on an interception by Markell Williams. That streak is now at 192 minutes, 1 second heading into the Southern Utah contest.
SHARING THE BALL
• While Carter's record-breaking performance has been documented, he was not alone in having a big night.
• Senior Morris Norrise caught a career high 10 passes for 96 yards and also had a pair of touchdowns. Carter and Norrise became the first pair of Hornet receivers to each catch 10-plus passes in the same game.
• Sophomore Shane Harrison also added four catches for a career-best 72 yards.
• Overall, nine players caught at least one pass during the game raising the team's total to 11 unique pass catchers this season. That total comes a year after Sacramento State led the FCS with 13 players who caught at least one pass.
MO ON THE MOVE
• Senior Morris Norrise extended his streak to 17-straight games in which he's played with a catch. In fact, Norrise has had two receptions in every game and four or more in 15 of the 17.
• Nearly a quarter of Garrett Safron's completions last season were hauled in by Morris Norrise. The senior caught a career high 60 passes in 2012 which tied him for fourth in school history. Norrise also led the team with 777 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
• The Berkeley, Calif., native was named to the 2013 Big Sky preseason team and was a second team all-conference selection following last season. He was honorable mention all-Big Sky the previous two years.
• Norrise either is in second place or within striking distance of second for nearly every career receiving record at Sacramento State. Below is a look at where Norrise ranks on the Sacramento State career lists:
Career Receptions Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 248 95
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 153 ---
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 4,049 2,088
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 1,961 ---
Career Receiving Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 27 10
2. Mike Carter, 1968-69 17 ---
Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 17 ---
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
• Since moving to the FCS in 1993, Sacramento State has had five different linebackers earn All-America honors and 22 named all-Big Sky Conference. That list could expand this season if senior Todd Davis is able to keep up the pace he's set over the last two years.
• Davis has led the team in tackles the past two seasons, tallying 96 in 2011 and 103 in 2012. Last year's total also included a team-best 13.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks. That effort helped him be named second team all-Big Sky.
• He moved within one tackle of the team lead following a 12-stop performance against Southern Oregon where he had a career-high eight solos. Davis was also credited with two TFLs, a sack, a forced fumble, pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.
• The Palmdale, Calif., native has made a couple of changes in 2013. The first came when he changed his jersey number to No. 53 after wearing No. 91 the previous three years. The second will be on the field as he moves from outside linebacker to middle linebacker where he replaces the graduated Jeff Badger.
• Below is a list of where Davis ranks in school history:
Career Tackles Total Needs
6. Mike Brannon, 2005-08 258 13
7. Brent Webber, 2004-07 249 4
8. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 245 ---
Career Tackles-For-Loss Total Needs
8. Tyson Butler, 2003-06 24.0 2
9. Nick Echols, 1997-98 23.0 1
10. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 22.0 ---
BRINGING THE BOOM
•With nine touchdowns it might be expected that there wasn't much work for punter Justin Weldon. However, the senior made the most of his chances, crushing six punts for an average of 44.3 yards and placing five inside the 20-yard line. Weldon also had great hang time which created a net of 41.7 yards per punt.
• Weldon currently ranks eighth in the FCS and is third in the Big Sky with an average of 44.5 yards.
• At Arizona State, Weldon unloaded a 67-yard punt which is his longest of the year. That punt is now tied for seventh longest in program history and gives him three kicks of at least 65 yards during his career. The Madera, Calif., native is the only player in Hornet history to achieve that feat surpassing Mitch Lively, Jimmy Sanchez and Steve Thorns who each have two.
• Weldon's career average of 43.39 yards on 56 attempts is the best in school history. If he can maintain that pace throughout the season, he would break Doyle Brunson's record of 42.27 which was set from 1968-69.
• Last season, Weldon averaged 42.81 yards per punt which ranks third in school single-season history.
JUST THE FACTS
• The Hornets are minus-18 in turnover margin dating back to the start of last season. Last year, the team forced 18 fumbles but recovered only four.
• Bill Laveroni (offensive line) and Fred Kelley (tight ends/special teams) are both in their first seasons on the Hornet staff. Laveroni has coached at nearly every level of football from high school to the NFL career. Kelley is back after spending last season as the offensive line coach at Humboldt State.
• Sperbeck's 12 career road wins are tied for the third most in school history. Ray Clemons won 35 games in 15 years. Bob Mattos won 34 in 15 years and John Volek won 12 in eight years.
• Prior to being shutout at San Jose State, Sacramento State had scored in 68 straight games and at least a touchdown in 43 consecutive games.
• The 55-point margin of defeat at Arizona State is tied for the fifth largest in school history.
• The team's six first downs at ASU are tied for the third fewest in program history.
COACHES LUNCHEONS RETURN
• The Hornet Club Football Luncheons returned on Monday, Sept. 9, at Buca di Beppo on Howe and Hurley. The luncheons will feature head coach Marshall Sperbeck as well as a student-athlete and will take place from 12 -1 p.m.
• The luncheons will take place each Monday throughout the season. For $12 patrons will receive salad, entree, bread, desert and drink.
BIG SKY NOTES
• The Big Sky/ROOT Sports Players of the Week were:
Offense: Jordan Johnson, QB, Montana
Set the Big Sky pass efficiency record (322.3) in a 55-17 win at North Dakota. Threw for 354 yards and 5 TD.
Defense: Lucky Dozier, S, Northern Arizona
Returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown in a 21-10 win at UC Davis. NAU had two defensive TDs in the game.
ST: Brendon Garcia, K, Idaho State
Garcia drilled field goals of 30, 47 and 50 yards and is now 7-of-7 on the year on FG attempts.
FOOTBALL CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH ON SATURDAY
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