FOOTBALL PLAYS FINAL ROAD GAME AT PORTLAND STATE ON SATURDAY
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A BRIEF PREVIEW
For the final time this season, the Sacramento State football team will travel away from home as it makes its way north to face Portland State on Saturday, Nov. 16. The game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. at JELD-WEN Field.
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 by can be seen on WatchBigSky.com The service is free but requires viewers to register.
Sacramento State is coming off a 42-7 loss at Cal Poly last Saturday which dropped its record to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in Big Sky Conference games. The Mustangs rushed for 424 yards and quarterback Chris Brown threw four touchdown passes on just 10 attempts in the win. The loss marked the second time this season that the Hornets have dropped two games in a row — the only other coming in the opening games of the year at San José State and Arizona State.
Portland State guaranteed at least a .500 record with a 38-31 win at Idaho State. Running back DJ Adams spearheaded the Vikings' offense against ISU, rushing for 201 of the team's 395 yards. Quarterback Collin Ramirez added 117 yards and tight end Hayden Plinke contributed 48 yards out of the wildcat formation.
PSU has won three straight games with victories over North Dakota and Weber State before Idaho State. The Vikings have also found success at home where they are 4-1 this season with the lone loss coming to Cal Poly. Sacramento State and Portland State have faced five common opponents this season with both teams defeating North Dakota and Weber State and both falling to Cal Poly, Montana and Southern Utah.
On offense, Adams has been dominant all season as the senior has accumulated 1,207 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns. PSU has used three different QBs with sophomore Kieran McDonagh throwing for 1,821 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and Ramirez added 509 yards with two TDs and three picks. Paris Penn has also played in six games.
Defensively, linebacker Jaycob Shoemaker has a team-high 82 tackles, including seven for loss, in nine games. Safety Dean Faddis ranks second with 80 tackles. David Edgerson has nine interceptions on the season and is one of six Vikings to pick off a pass.
Marshall Sperbeck is in his seventh season as the head coach at Sacramento State. During that span, Sperbeck has produced a 34-43 overall record. For a complete bio, please see page 2.
Portland State is coached by Nigel Burton who is in his fourth season leading the Vikings. Burton, who graduated from Sacramento's Jesuit High School and went on to play at Washington, is 18-25 at PSU.
Sacramento State and Portland State first met in 1965 and have played annually since 1994 and in 30 of the last 31 years. The Vikings own a commanding 22-9 overall advantage but Sacramento State has won three of the last four.
NEXT MAN UP
• When Markell Williams went down with a lower leg injury in the first half at Cal Poly, it made room for junior Dexter Alcala to take over the team's nickelback position.
• Alcala responded with a career high eight tackles, including five solos. Alcala also was credited with a half tackle for loss.
• Throughout his career, Alcala has been a standout on special teams and took over as the primary backup to Williams at the start of the season. With Alcala's promotion to the first team at Cal Poly, true freshman Nick Crouch saw his playing time increase.
• Crouch also set a career high with four tackles. The converted high school running back also returned a short kickoff 22 yards.
• Senior Justin Weldon continued his exceptional season with six punts for an average of 45.0 yards at Cal Poly. Weldon was consistent with a long of 53 yards and had a net of 38.2 yards per attempt.
• This season, Weldon is averaging 44.6 yards per punt on 57 kicks. If he is able to hold that average over the last two games, the Madera, Calif., native would break the Sacramento State single season record of 44.05 by Steve Thorns in 1997.
• Weldon is also on pace to set the career punting average by a Hornet. The current record of 42.27 yards per punt was set by Doyle Brunson from 1968-69. On 93 career attempts, Weldon is currently averaging 43.89 yards.
• Weldon ranks fourth nationally among FCS punters with his average this season. However, he's not the best in the Big Sky or will have the highest average in the game on Saturday. Portland State's Kyle Loomis is the FCS and Big Sky leader with an average of 47.77.
• Weldon has also increased his time on the field as he took over as the team's holder on field goals and extra points against Montana.
• The game against Montana marked the third time this season that Sacramento State has gone to overtime. The Hornets, Southern and Northern Iowa are the only Div. I teams (FBS and FCS) to play three overtime contests this season. Sacramento State is also the only school to have all three games come at home.
• Since the inception of college football overtime in 1996, the Hornets have now played 13 games which have required overtime. However, Sacramento State has not fared well in those games, posting a 3-10 record. Also surprising is that 10 of the 13 games — including all three this year — have been settled in the first overtime period.
• While no Hornet running back has more than 331 rushing yards this season, the quartet of Ezekiel Graham, Brandon Kellermann, Demetrius Warren and Jordan Robinson have combined to go over 1,000 yards.
• A series of injuries has limited the playing time for each of the four but together the group has compiled 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns. Graham, who has played in seven games, leads the way with 331 yards. He's closely followed by Kellermann (323) with Warren (213) and Robinson (139) not far behind. Graham, Kellermann and Robinson have each rushed for two touchdowns with Warren scoring one.
• The last two games have been the only two this season in which all four have received carries in the same contest. In those games, however, it has been Safron who has posted the highest yardage total on the team.
• Safron enters this week's game at Portland State as Sacramento State's leading rusher with 416 yards and five touchdowns. Safron set the record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season last week, passing Jeff Fleming's total of 399 from 2010.
• The lowest total for a leading rusher in school history came in 2006 when Kris Daniels rushed for only 160 yards and a touchdown on 66 carries.
DOUBLE DIGIT DUO
• Prior to this season, Sacramento State had never had two players each catch at least 10 passes in a game. This year, DeAndre Carter and Morris Norrise have achieved the feat twice.
• The pair's first occurrence came against Southern Oregon where Carter caught 12 passes and Norrise 10 in an overtime win over the Raiders.
• Against Montana, the duo posted identical numbers. Carter (165 yards) and Norrise (100) also became the set of Hornet receivers to each go over 100 yards in a game since Andre Taylor (136) and Jason Barnes (116) at Idaho State in 2006.
SACK STREAK CONTINUES
• With the help of a Todd Davis sack at Cal Poly, Sacramento State extended its streak with at least one sack to 28 consecutive games.
• The last time the Hornets were unable to get to the quarterback came in the team's 42-28 win over Montana on Sept. 24, 2011.
• This season, nine different Sacramento State players have recorded at least a half sack. The group is led by Sankey who has 5.5.
HIKUTINI STAYS BUSY
• Over the last two weeks, redshirt freshman Cole Hikutini has seen his role in the offense expand substantially. Against Montana, Hikutini caught five passes for 42 yards with a pair of touchdowns. This past week at Cal Poly, he tied for second on the team with four receptions for 28 yards.
• Hikutini, who ranks third on the team with four touchdowns this season, scored his first against the Griz with 18 seconds to go in the first half. On the play, the Wilton, Calif., native had a defender draped on his back and drew a pass interference call while still making the catch.
• He scored his second TD with 23 seconds remaining in regulation after tipping the 5-yard pass into the air and gathering the ball on his way to the ground to send the game into overtime.
SAFRON CONTINUES HIS ROLL
• Despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the first nine quarters of the season, Garrett Safron tied Jeff Fleming's school single season record with his 23 TD pass of the season.
• Safron's total received a major jump start when he threw seven against Southern Oregon to break Ryan Leadingham's school record of six against Idaho State in 2003. Safron has thrown at least one touchdown in each game since that point.
• To put the seven touchdowns against SOU in perspective, his single-game effort was greater than or equal to the Hornet team leader in four seasons since 1990.
• He now owns the top three marks for completions in a game with 41 against Montana this year, 37 at UC Davis in 2012 and 34 against Southern Oregon in 2013.
• 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.
• Safron has also proven to be accurate as his current completion percentage of 62.5 percent would easily set the career mark by a Hornet — passing Ricky Ray's .619.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:
Career Passing Yards Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 8,376 2,928
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 5,488 ---
Career Passing Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 50 2
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 48 ---
Career Passing Attempts Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 1,191 374
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 817 ---
Career Passing Completions Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04 658 150
2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres. 508 ---
Single Season Attempts Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001 393 16
2. Garrett Safron, 2012 383 6
3. Garrett Safron, 2013 377 ---
Single Season Completions Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron, 2012 246 8
2. Garrett Safron, 2013 238 ---
Single Season Yards Total Needs
1. Ryan Leadingham, 2002 2,785 271
2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001 2,752 238
3. Garrett Safron, 2012 2,540 26
4. Tony Corbin, 1995 2,532 18
5. Garrett Safron, 2013 2,514 ---
Single Season Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Jeff Fleming, 2010 23 ---
Garrett Safron, 2013 23 ---
CARTER PULLS WITHIN ONE
• DeAndre Carter's 15-yard touchdown catch at Cal Poly was not only the lone scoring play for the team but also drew the junior within one of the school single-season record. Carter now has 13 touchdown receptions this season and trails Mike Carter's mark of 14 from 1969.
• Carter has caught a touchdown in seven of the last eight games and is currently tied for fourth in the FCS. However, he is third in the Big Sky behind Montana's Ellis Henderson (14) and Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp (14).
• Carter began his streak against Southern Oregon where he caught 12 passes for 122 yards and a school record five touchdowns. His reception total tied him for third place in school history and was the most by a Hornet since 2004.
• A week later against Southern Utah, he had five receptions for 56 yards and also found the end zone one time.
• At Weber State, Carter eclipsed his career high with 148 receiving yards on eight receptions with three TDs.
• He added a new wrinkle against Northern Colorado with a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before catching a 12-yard pass in the second quarter. He nearly had a second TD reception but was ruled down on the 1-yard line.
• Carter has become just the third player in school history to catch at least three touchdown passes in a game twice, joining Mike Carter and Eric Harrington.
• Carter did not catch a touchdown pass as a freshman in 2011 where he had 11 receptions for 161 yards. Last year, he got off to a great start, scoring touchdowns in each of the first four games. However, he did not find the end zone for the remainder of the season, finishing with 32 catches for 344 yards.
Career Receiving Touchdowns Total Needs
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 18 1
3. Mike Carter, 1968-69 17 ---
DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres. 17 ---
Single Season Receiving TDs Total Needs
1. Mike Carter, 1969 14 1
2. DeAndre Carter, 2013 13 ---
MO ON THE MOVE
• Senior Morris Norrise extended his streak to 23-straight games in which he's played with a catch with his five grabs at Cal Poly. In fact, Norrise has had two receptions in every game and four or more in 21 of the 23.
• Norrise leads the team with a career high 68 receptions this season, is second with 643 yards and third with three TDs. Last season, he had 60 receptions and 777 yards.
•Norrise's average of 6.8 receptions per game places him second in the Big Sky and 12th in the FCS.
• 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 37
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 201 ---
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 4,049 1,626
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 2,423 ---
Career Receiving Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Fred Amey, 2001-04 27 9
2. Morris Norrise, 2010-pres. 18 ---
DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres. 18 ---
Single Season Receptions Total Needs
1. Tony Washington, 2008 83 15
2. Fred Amey, 2004 76 8
3. Morris Norrise, 2013 68 ---
DAVIS EXTENDS BIG SKY LEAD
• Todd Davis tallied 14 tackles against Cal Poly to him his sixth double-digit effort of the season. Davis had seven solo stops and also recorded the team's lone sack.
• That total elevated Davis to eighth in the FCS with 10.7 tackles per game. The FCS leader is Tazmon Foster of North Carolina Central who is averaging 12.3 stops per game.
• Davis was also able to gain a little separation over Northern Colorado's Clarence Bumpas (10.0) and Leilon Willingham (10.0).
• The Palmdale, Calif, native has recorded at least five tackles in all 10 games this season and 31 of his last 33 games.
• 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.
• 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.
• Below is a list of where Davis ranks in school history:
Career Tackles Total Needs
1. Ryland Wickman, 1995-98 435 108
2. Cyrus Mulitalo, 2005-08 336 9
3. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 327 ---
Career Tackles-For-Loss Total Needs
6. Cyrus Mulitalo, 2005-08 32.0 2.5
7. Christian Clark, 2007-10 31.0 1.5
8. Todd Davis, 2010-pres. 29.5 ---
JUST THE FACTS
• The team wore black uniforms against Montana for the first time in school history.
• Prior to Sacramento State scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter against Montana, UM had allowed only 13 points in the quarter in its previous seven games combined.
• Jesse Aguilar's missed PAT against Northern Colorado was his first at any level of football (high school, junior college and at Sacramento State).
• Sacramento State's games against Southern Oregon and Southern Utah marked the first time that the Hornets played consecutive overtime games in school history.
• 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.
• 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 14 career road wins are the third most in school history. Ray Clemons won 35 games in 15 years and Bob Mattos won 34 in 15 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.
CAUSEWAY CLASSIC LUNCHEON
• Sacramento State will host the annual Causeway Classic Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the DoubleTree Hotel. Head coaches Marshall Sperbeck and Ron Gould will be on hand as well as selected student-athletes from both teams.
• Tickets are available for $35 by calling the Sacramento State ticket office or by purchasing online at hornetsports.com.