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A BRIEF PREVIEW
Sacramento State will start its final homestand of the season when it welcomes Southern Utah for a Big Sky Conference football game on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. The game, which is the first of two consecutive home games for the team, will be the first home day game.
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 also be broadcast on the internet via WatchBigSky.com. The service is free of charge but fans need to register prior to kickoff. Fans can also download the WatchBigSky.com app to view the games on their iOS devices.
Sacramento State fell below .500 for the first time this season when the team lost, 31-13, at No. 12 Montana on Saturday. The Hornets had several chances in the game, but were only able to score on two of their four chances in the red zone. The loss dropped Sacramento State to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in Big Sky Conference games.
Southern Utah is coming off a bye and enters the week with a 2-7 overall mark and 2-3 conference record. The T-Birds faced one of the toughest early season schedules in the FCS with games at Nevada and Fresno State as well as nationally-ranked Southeastern Louisiana and South Dakota State. SUU has also faced Cal Poly and Eastern Washington who are currently in the top 25.
The Thunderbirds are one of the more balanced teams in the Big Sky as they have 293 rushing attempts and 349 pass attempts this season. Quarterback Amman Olsen, a transfer from BYU, is a dual threat with 317 rushing yards and a team-best three rushing touchdowns. Olsen has also thrown for 2,128 yards with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Eight different receivers have caught at least 10 passes and eight have touchdown catches, including Chris Robinson and Mitch Jessop who have grabbed five TDs.
Linebacker Chinedu Ahanonu is one of the leading tacklers in the FS with 119 stops in nine games. The sophomore has 62 solo stops with 5.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. As a team, SUU has intercepted 10 passes this season.
The series is tied 7-7. The teams first met in 1986 and have played annually since 2011. The two squads have alternated wins in the last four games, including last season's 24-21 controversial overtime victory by the Thunderbirds. After playing at SUU in 2011 and 2012, the teams will meet in Sacramento for the second consecutive season.
THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
• Senior quarterback Garrett Safron secured the final career record he was missing when he passed Ryan Leadingham for career passing attempts during the game at Montana. Safron now owns the career mark for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns. Based on his play over the final three games, he could also leave as the all-time leader in completion percentage.
• After earning second team all-Big Sky honors last season, Safron found himself on nearly every preseason watch list and all-conference team heading into 2014.
• Last season, Safron rewrote the school single season record book with 294 completions, 460 attempts, 3,289 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns. He also rushed for a team best 492 yards and seven touchdowns and set the single season mark with 3,781 yard of total offense. Following the year, he was named the team's offensive MVP and became the first Hornet QB to be named first or second team all-Big Sky.
• Safron now has 10 career 300-yard games which is the most in Sacramento State history.
• The Santa Monica, Calif., native has started every game since the start of 2011 and is now either first or second in every career passing record at Sacramento State.
• Below is where he ranks in school history:
|Career Passing Yards||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||8,448||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||8.376||---|
|Career Passing Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||74||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||50||---|
|Career Passing Attempts||Total||Needs|
|1. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||1,191||13|
|2. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||1,178||---|
|Career Passing Completions||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||737||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||658||---|
|Career Total Offense||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||10,191||---|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001-04||8,455||---|
|Single Season Total Offense||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2013||3,781||968|
|2. Ryan Leadingham, 2001||2,955||142|
|3. Garrett Safron, 2012||2,917||104|
|4. Ryan Leadingham, 2002||2,816||3|
|5. Garrett Safron, 2014||2,813||---|
|Single Season Passing Yards||Total||Needs|
|4. Garrett Safron, 2012||2,540||315|
|5. Tony Corbin, 1995||2,532||307|
|6. Ricky Ray, 1999||2,422||197|
|7. Tony Corbin, 1996||2,334||109|
|8. Drew Wyant, 1989||2,280||55|
|9. Garrett Safron, 2014||2,225||---|
|Single Season Passing TDs||Total||Needs|
|1. Garrett Safron, 2013||27||5|
|2. Jeff Fleming, 2010||23||1|
|T3. Garrett Safron, 2012||22||---|
|T3. Garrett Safron, 2014||22||---|
HE'S GOING THE DISTANCE
• Safron has also proved effective with his legs. His 73-yard touchdown run at Cal was a career long and the longest by a Hornet since Ryan Mole went 87 yards against Montana State in 2004. He added a 70-yard touchdown run against Weber State. Safron leads the team with four rushes of at least 50 yards.
• He enters this week's game needing 176 rushing yards to pass Portland State's Conner Kavanaugh for the Big Sky record by a quarterback.
• Over his four years, Safron has now rushed for 1,786 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those marks have helped him set all the quarterback rushing marks at Sacramento State. He also became the first player in school history to surpass 10,000 yards of total offense in a career. His total of 10,496 is the second most among active players in the FCS.
• Below is where he ranks on the overall career list:
|Career Rushing Yards||Total||Needs|
|6. Rob Harrison, 1985-86||1,924||138|
|7. Garrett Safron, 2011-pres.||1,786||---|
|Career Rushing Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|T5. Troy Mills, 1990-91||25||9|
|T6. Tyronne Gross, 2002-04||16||---|
|T6. Garrett White, 1998-2002||16||---|
|T6. Garrett Safron (QB), 2011-pres.||16||---|
CARTER CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• DeAndre Carter had his three game streak with at least 100 receiving yards come to an end against Cal Poly where he finished with 61 yards. The senior, however, continued to add to his reception total as he hauled in nine passes. This season, Carter leads the team with 61 receptions, including 43 over the last four games. His average of 7.6 receptions per game places him second in the Big Sky and third in the FCS. Carter is also tied for second in the FCS with 11 receiving touchdowns this season.
• Last season, the Fremont, Calif., native exploded for 934 yards and a school-record tying 14 receiving touchdowns in 11 games. He missed the final game of the after spraining his ankle at Portland State.
• Carter has caught a TD in 13 of his last 17 games and finished 2013 tied for fourth in the FCS with 14.
• Carter did not catch a touchdown pass as a freshman in 2011 where he had 11 receptions for 161 yards. As a sophomore, he caught TDs in 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 Yards||Total||Needs|
|2. Morris Norrise, 2010-13||2,650||418|
|3. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.||2,232||---|
|Career Receiving Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|1. DeAndre Carter, 2011-pres.||29||---|
|2. Fred Amey, 201-04||27||---|
|T3. Donald Hair, 1985-88||34||4|
|T3. John Farley, 1980-83||34||4|
|5. DeAndre Carter, 2014||30||---|
|Single Season Receptions||Total||Needs|
|1. Tony Washington, 2008||83||17|
|2. Morris Norrise, 2013||81||15|
|3. Fred Amey, 2004||76||10|
|4. DeAndre Carter, 2014||66||---|
|Single Season Touchdowns||Total||Needs|
|T1. Mike Carter, 1969||14||3|
|T1. DeAndre Carter, 2013||14||3|
|3. Tony Washington, 2008||12||1|
|T4. Mitch Oliver, 1995||11||---|
|T4. DeAndre Carter, 2014||11||---|
LITTLE OF THIS, LITTLE OF THAT
• At first glance, Jordan Robinson's performance at Montana was not one of his most memorable efforts this season. However, a deeper look saw the sophomore finish with 166 all-purpose yards as he showed his versatility against the Grizzlies.
• Robinson had 11 rushes for 42 yards, caught six passes for 42 yards and returned three kickoffs for 82 yards to reach his total.
• The performance was nothing new for the Chino Hills, Calif., native as he ranks second on the team with 870 all-purpose yards this season. Robinson has rushed for 651 yards and four touchdowns to lead the team. He's also third on the squad with 23 receptions for 137 yards and a pair of TD catches.
• Through his first two seasons, Nnamdi Agude caught two passes for 24 yards in 14 career games. This season, Agude leads the Big Sky and ranks third in the FCS with 958 receiving yards. The junior ranks second on the team with 58 catches and is averaging 106.4 yards per game.
• The Corona, Calif., native has been the model of consistency this season, as he had five 100-yard games in the team's first eight contests. That total made him one of just 12 Hornets to have five 100-yard games in their career. He narrowly missed another game over the century mark as he finished with eight catches for 99 yards at Montana.
• Agude's success this season has been based on his ability to make the big play. He accounts for the six longest pass receptions by Sacramento State this season and has made 13 of the team's 23 receptions of at least 25 yards.
• Agude now ranks seventh in school single-season history for receiving yards and is eighth in receptions. He will become just the fifth Hornet to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a year if he can add 42 yards to his total. The single season record of 1,279 was set by Tony Washington in 2008.
NEXT MAN UP
• Junior Justin Cox made the most of his opportunity in the starting lineup, setting career highs for receptions and receiving yards against Montana.
• Cox started at wide receiver in place of the ill Dominic Coulter and finished the game against the Griz with six receptions for 49 yards. Prior to that game, he had caught four passes in a pair of games and had 43 yards against Menlo.
• Cox is one of 12 Hornets who've caught a pass this season and one of six with at least 15 receptions. Sacramento State has also had five players haul in a touchdown pass.
CORNISH HONORED NATIONALLY
• Junior kicker Brad Cornish was named to the Fred Mitchell Award watch list on Oct. 27. The Mitchell Award is presented to the best kicker in the FCS, Div. II or Div. III.
• Cornish has made 12-of-15 field goal attempts this season and leads the team with 75 points. The Santee, Calif., native has also been successful on 39-of-41 extra points.
• Cornish's two field goals at Montana gave him 13 career field goals. Next up on the list are Bret LeVier, Dave DeSilva and Mike Clemons who each made 16 field goals. Four players have 25 or more career field goals with Scott Brown's total of 44 leading the way.
• Cornish moved onto the single-season top 10 at Sacramento State in the last game. He's currently tied for sixth with Chris Diniz (2009) and Juan Gamboa (2008). Scott Brown (1999) and LeVier (2002) each made 14 and share the school record.
RED ZONE REHASH
• While the Sacramento State offense has posted numbers that will challenge many of the school single-season records, it has run into some problems in the red zone this year. The Hornets have scored points on 28 of its 36 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line. That percentage (.778) places the team 73rd in the FCS this year.
• Against Montana, Sacramento State made five trips into the red zone but did not find the end zone until its final drive when Safron snuck in from 1-yard out. The team had two field goals and also turned it over on downs on another series. Safron was also intercepted at the 21-yard line in the first quarter.
• In the team's four wins this season, the Hornets have scored touchdowns on 14-of-18 trips into the red zone. In the five losses, Sacramento State is 9-of-17 in getting touchdowns. The team has also thrown five interceptions in those games.
SANKEY NAMED TO BUCHANAN LIST
• Junior linebacker Darnell Sankey was placed in high company when he was added to the list of nominees for the Buck Buchanan Award. The award is annually given to the best defensive player in the FCS. Past winners included Kroy Biermann, Jared Allen and Rashean Mathis, who are all currently in the NFL.
• This year's list of nominees is comprised of 23 players. Sankey is one of only six juniors on the list and is one of four players from the Big Sky Conference.
• Sankey is Sacramento State's leading tackler with 99 stops on the year. The San Jose, Calif., native has recorded at least 10 tackles in each complete game he's played in this year. Sankey was disqualified in the first quarter at Idaho State due to a targeting penalty and was forced to leave the Cal Poly game in the third quarter with an injury.
• Against Montana State, Sankey had 21 tackles which tied Cyrus Mulitalo for second place in school history and left him one shy of Ryland Wickman's school record which came at Eastern Washington in 1997.
• Sankey is the latest in a long list of Hornet linebackers who have had national success. Most recently, Todd Davis was an All-American at the position last season and finished fifth with 10.9 tackles per game. Ryland Wickman, Anthony Daisley, Matt Logue, Cyrus Mulitalo and Mike Brannon also earned All-America recognition at the position.
BIG SHOES TO FILL
• With Sankey sidelined for the indefinite future with a knee injury which he suffered in the third quarter against Cal Poly, Robbie Kendall has taken over as the team leading tackler. Kendall has 86 tackles this season which ranks second on the team. He most recently tied for the team high along with Nick Crouch at Montana with seven stops.
• Kendall is in his second season with the team after transferring from Butte JC. He was the opening game starter at safety a year ago but missed the remainder of the season with a neck injury.
• The Hornets shifted the lineup in Sankey's absence, moving Henry Fernandez to middle linebacker and starting Russell Smith on the outside. Smith started all 12 games at that spot a year ago.
COACHES LUNCHEONS RETURN
• Each Monday throughout the season the public is invited to the Field House American Sports Pub. Coach Sears and selected players will speak to the audience. Highlights from the previous game and a look at the upcoming opponent will also be provided. Cost is $12 and includes your choice from a selected menu, drink, tax and gratuity. The luncheons will begin at noon each Monday but will not be held on Nov. 17
JUST THE FACTS
• Jody Sears became just the third Sacramento State head coach to win his first career game with the Hornets.
• LB Henry Fernandez, DE Jaycee Totty, QB Garrett Safron and WR DeAndre Carter were named team captains for the season.
• Former Hornet All-American Charles Roberts was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame on Sept. 20.
• Defensive linemen Jaycee Totty and Peter Nonu are both married. Nonu has two children.
• Former Hornet Todd Davis became the 21st Sacramento State player to appear in an NFL game when he saw action with the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 19.
Incarnate Word Game
• The team's 49 points at Incarnate Word were the most in a season opener in school history. The previous mark was 48 against Chico State in 1988.
• The 46 point margin of victory was the largest since a 69-19 win over Saint Mary's (9/6/03).
• Garrett Steele blocked a punt and also recovered a loose kickoff to set up a pair of touchdowns.
• The 28 first quarter points scored by the Golden Bears were the most by an opponent in school history.
• Safron's 73-yard touchdown run was the longest rush by a Hornet since 2004.
Weber State Game
• Robinson (130 rush), Safron (115 rush) and Agude (124 rec) become first pair of 100-yard rushers and 100-yard receiver for Hornets since 2008.
• Sankey (14), Fernandez (12) and Kendall (11) each have double digit tackles.
• Hornets win home opener for fifth straight year.
• Kickoff temp was 100 degrees.
• The 59 points are the ninth most in school history.
• Eight players scored one touchdown.
• Team tied record with four interceptions.
Idaho State Game
• Safron became school leader in total offense.
• Team dropped to 4-15 in Big Sky openers.
Montana State Game
• Team set school record with 694 yards of total offense.
• Safron became first Hornet QB to throw for 300 yards (463) and rush for 100 yards (146) in a game.
• Sankey with 21 tackles.
• Agude (197) and Carter (184) become first Hornet duo to each have 100 yards in consecutive games.
• 28 fourth quarter points the most in school history.
Northern Colorado Game
• De'Jon Coleman scores 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 blocked PR).
Cal Poly Game
• Safron set career passing yards record.
• Carter set career receiving TD record.
• Sankey suffered knee injury.
• SAC outgained Montana in total yards.