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September 28, 2013

FOOTBALL BEGINS BIG SKY PLAY AT WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY

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A BRIEF PREVIEW

Following a heart-wrenching overtime loss to Southern Utah, the Sacramento State football team will get a fresh start to its season when it plays Weber State in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams on Saturday, Sept. 28. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 5:05 p.m. PDT from Stewart Stadium in Ogden, Utah.

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.

Both teams come into the game with 1-3 overall records and similar schedules. Sacramento State lost its first two games against San Jose State and Arizona State of the FBS while Weber State was toppled by Utah and Utah State.

A week after defeating Southern Oregon in overtime, the Hornets played extra football again this past Saturday against Southern Utah. Sacramento State saw its lead disappear when SUU tied the game, 21-21, with 31 seconds remaining. The Hornets had the first crack at scoring in overtime but missed a 45-yard field goal. The Thunderbirds converted a 38-yard field goal to capture the victory.

The Hornet offense picked up where it left off against Southern Oregon, compiling 402 yards in the game and scoring three touchdowns. Quarterback Garrett Safron threw two TD passes giving him nine touchdowns over the last two games.

The Wildcats most recently came up short in a 43-6 loss at No. 12 McNeese State. The team scored the first points of the game before the Cowboys ran away.

Bo Bolen, who returned to the team after serving on an LDS mission the last two years, leads the team with 50.8 yards per game. Austin Chipoletti and Jordan Adamczyk have both seen time at quarterback over the first four games. Chipoletti has one TD and three interceptions along with 186 yards. Adamczyk has thrown one TD and one interception with 206 yards.

Linebacker Anthony Morales has been the leader on defense, compiling 37 tackles, including three for loss, in the four games.

THE COACHES
Marshall Sperbeck is in his seventh season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 31-40 overall record. For a complete bio, please see page 2.

Weber State is coached by Jody Sears who is in his second season leading the Wildcats. Sears is 3-12 overall during his tenure.

THE SERIES
Weber State leads the all-time series, 11-6. The teams have played annually since Sacramento State joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996 and have alternated victories the last four years. Stewart Stadium has proven to be a challenge for the Hornets who are winless in eight tries in Ogden, Utah. In fact, only two of those eight games have been decided by seven points or less — the last coming in a 38-31 loss in 2001 in which the Hornets were stopped just shy of the goal line as time expired.

BONUS FOOTBALL
• For the first time in school history, Sacramento State has played consecutive overtime contests. The first came in a 63-56 win over Southern Oregon on Sept. 14 while the latter was a 24-21 loss to Southern Utah on Sept. 21.
• Since the inception of college overtime in 1997, Sacramento State has played 12 contests which needed to be settled in the extra period. Overall the team is 3-9 in those games and all but three have been settled in the first overtime.
• Overtime also seems to happen in pairs for the Hornets as the team played two OT games in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2011 and now 2013.

BIG SKY DEBUT
• Sacramento State will begin its 18th season in the Big Sky Conference this weekend at Weber State. The team is  3-14 in its previous 17 Big Sky openers with nine of those games coming against teams who were ranked in the top 25 at that time.
• Below is a complete recap of those games:
Date    Opponent    Results
9/28/96    #2 Montana    L, 35-17
9/27/97    at #1 Montana    L, 52-20
9/26/98    at Montana State    L, 37-30
9/11/99    at #3  Montana    L, 41-39 (2ot)
9/16/00    #9 Portland State    L, 35-23
9/22/01    Idaho State    W, 33-27
9/28/02    at Idaho State    L, 32-24
9/27/03    #12 Idaho State    W, 47-21
10/2/04    at #20 Northern Arizona    L, 26-0
9/17/05    at Portland State    L, 28-12
9/23/06    at #5 Montana    L, 59-14
9/15/07    at Portland State    L, 35-24
9/20/08    Weber State    L, 32-27
9/26/09    #19 Eastern Washington    L, 56-30
9/18/10    #21 Weber State    W, 24-17
9/17/11    at Weber State    L, 49-17
9/22/12    North Dakota    L, 35-13

TAG TEAM
• For the first time this season, Sacramento State split its carries between freshman Demetrius Warren and senior Ezekiel Graham. Both backs received 14 carries in the game and finished with 89 and 67 yards, respectively. Quarterback Garrett Safron was not far behind with 12 carries for 43 yards.
• Warren set career highs for both attempts and yards against the Thunderbirds. He also rushed for a career long 18-yard gain in the first half.

CARTER FINDS HOME IN END ZONE
• A week after being named the Co-Offensive FCS National Player of the Week by The Sports Network, junior DeAndre Carter continued his strong start to the season with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown against Southern Utah.
• Carter now has six touchdowns on the year with all of them coming between the second quarter of the Southern Oregon game and the second quarter against Southern Utah. Those six touchdowns place him just one score away from moving into a tie for ninth place in school single season history.
• Only three Hornets have recorded 10 or more receiving touchdowns in a season led by Mike Carter's 13 in 1969. Tony Washington had 12 in 2008 and Mitch Oliver 11 in 1995.
• Against SOU, Carter set the Sacramento State record and tied the Big Sky Conference mark with touchdowns of 12, 7, 22, 6 and 14 yards. He 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.

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
• 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 against Southern Oregon and added two more against Southern Oregon to raise his season total to nine.
• 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.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:

Career Passing Yards, Total, Needs
5. Ricky Ray, 1999-2000, 4,622, 812
6. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres., 3,810, ---

Career Passing Touchdowns, Total, Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04, 50, 16
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09, 38, 4
3. Tony Corbin, 1995-96, 34, ---
    Mike Sullivan, 1981-83, 34, ---
    Garrett Safron, 2011-pres., 34, ---

Career Passing Attempts, Total, Needs
4. Mike Sullivan, 1981-83, 663, 128
5. Drew Wyant, 1986-89, 563, 28
6. Ricky Ray, 1999-2000, 561, 25
7. Lyle James, 1966-68, 537, 1
8. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres., 536, ---

Career Passing Completions, Total, Needs
2. Jason Smith, 2007-09, 442, 85
3. Mike Sullivan, 1981-83, 365, 8
4. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres., 357, ---

FIELD GOALS OPTIONAL
• This week's game will pit two of the 19 FCS teams that have yet to make a field goal this season against one another. Sacramento State is 0-for-5 on field goal attempts while Weber State has yet to attempt a field goal this year.
• In defense of Hornet kicker Jesse Aguilar, two of his first three tries of the year were blocked and his other misses have been from 45, 49 and 45 yards. Aguilar has been accurate on PATs, converting each of his 12 attempts.
• Weber State's Carson Fackrell is 5-for-6 on PATs in 2013. The Wildcats have attempted nine fourth-down tries this year, converting six.

MO ON THE MOVE
• Senior Morris Norrise extended his streak to 18-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 16 of the 18.
• Norrise leads the team with 25 receptions for 242 yards  this season along with three touchdowns. Last season, he set career highs with 60 receptions and 777 yards.
• 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 of every major 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, 90
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres., 158, ---

Career Receiving Yards, Total, Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04, 4,049, 2,027
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres., 2,022, ---

Career Receiving Touchdowns, Total, Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04, 27, 9
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres., 18, ---

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.
• Over the last two games, Davis has become the team leader with double digit tackles in both contests. He had 12 tackles against SOU, including a career high eight solos, and added 13 stops against SUU.
• 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
5. Peter Buck, 2007-10, 274, 16
6. Mike Brannon, 2005-08, 258, ---
    Todd Davis, 2010-pres., 258, ---    

Career Tackles-For-Loss, Total, Needs
8. Tyson Butler, 2003-06, 24.0, 1.5
9. Nick Echols, 1997-98, 23.0, 0.5
10. Todd Davis, 2010-pres., 22.5, ---

JUST THE FACTS
• The 63 points scored against Southern Oregon were tied for the fourth most in school history and the most since 2003.
• The team tied the school record with 101 plays against SOU.
• Nine touchdowns were tied the school record while nine successful PATs set a new mark.
• The Hornets are minus-17 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: DJ Adams, RB, Portland State
Rushed 14 times for 208 yards and two TDs in a 41-10 win at UC Davis. Part of 427 rushing yards in the game for the Viks.
Defense: Anders Battle, CB, Northern Arizona
Returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown in NAU's 22-16 victory over South Dakota. Also had three tackles and 3 PBUs.
ST: Ben Worst, K, Montana
Made two 41-yard field goals and another from 50 yards in his first collegiate game. Also had two extra points.

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