OGDEN, Utah — Sacramento State's head football coach Jody Sears was named the Big Sky Conference Co-Coach of the Year, it was announced today. The honor is the first for a Hornet head football coach since joining the Big Sky in 1996. Sears shared the award with Southern Utah head coach Demario Warren.
Sears led the Hornets to a 7-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in league games. The team finished the season tied for third place in the Big Sky standings and recorded a couple of firsts at Sacramento State — winning seven games against Div. I opponents and earning six Big Sky victories.
"This is humbling and flattering but I would trade it immediately if it gave us a chance to get in to the playoffs," Sears said. "The credit goes to our entire staff and the players. The kids are the ones who bought in and made the sacrifices to the program and to the coaches. They met the standards and expectations and were fully committed raising the bar for this program."
The team's resurgence featured a high-scoring offense along with a ball-hawking defense which provided relentless pressure. Sacramento State averaged 37.6 points per game and 6.5 yards per play throughout the season. The team was explosive at Hornet Stadium, scoring 50-plus points in five games and at least 40 points in five of the six contests while posting a 5-1 record.
The Hornets relied on a punishing ground attack which rushed for 225.8 yards per game (the most since 1999) despite having just one player gain over 500 yards. Instead, Sacramento State rotated four running backs alongside quarterback Kevin Thomson and the five each had at least 75 attempts and combined to score 24 touchdowns.
Thomson started eight games for the team and finished the year with a quarterback efficiency of 171.80 to set the school single-season record. The junior threw for 1,828 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 175 attempts. Thomson was aided by by a trio of receivers which included Andre Lindsey and Jaelin Ratliff who ranked first and second in the FCS in yards per reception. Combined with his rushing total, he 2,322 yards of total offense and averaged 9.14 yards per play to set the Sacramento State record.
Defensively, the Hornets had one of the greatest turnarounds in the FCS. After ranking towards the bottom in numerous defensive metrics a year ago, Sacramento State led the Big Sky and ranked among the top three in the FCS in both third-down defense and sacks. The team limited opponents to just a 26.1 percent success rate on third down. Part of that success was a pass rush which combined for a school Div. I-era record of 43 sacks. Sacramento State had at least two sacks in all 11 games and were led by defensive ends Ben Sorensen (11.0 sacks) and George Obinna (8.5) who both earned first team all-Big Sky honors.
While the front four provided pressure, the secondary also left its mark. The Hornets recorded 14 interceptions and recorded nine fumbles. Dre Terrell led the Big Sky with five interceptions and also forced a pair of fumbles. Mister Harriel had three picks and Marcus Bruce recovered four fumbles, returning two for scores. In all, the team scored five touchdowns on either defense or special teams during the season and posted a plus-14 turnover margin.
April 24, 2018 FOOTBALL RELEASES 2018 SCHEDULE
April 14, 2018 WHITE RALLIES TO BEAT GREEN ON FINAL DRIVE OF SPRING GAME
April 12, 2018 GREEN-GOLD GAME CULMINATES SPRING BALL FOR FOOTBALL
March 8, 2018 REGISTRATION FOR BOB MATTOS GOLF CLASSIC NOW OPEN
February 7, 2018 FOOTBALL COMPLETES RECRUITING CLASS WITH 25 SIGNEES
January 29, 2018 JB HALL HIRED AS CORNERBACKS COACH
December 22, 2017 FOOTBALL CLASS CONTINUES TO GROW, NOW UP TO EIGHT SIGNEES
December 12, 2017 SORENSEN NAMED TO ASSOCIATED PRESS FCS ALL-AMERICA TEAM
December 4, 2017 MEDEIROS NAMED FINALIST FOR THE FRED MITCHELL AWARD
November 30, 2017 JODY SEARS AGREES TO MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION TO REMAIN HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
November 26, 2017 RICKY RAY WINS FOURTH GREY CUP, LEADS TORONTO TO COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN
November 22, 2017 JODY SEARS NAMED BIG SKY COACH OF THE YEAR
November 21, 2017 SORENSEN, OBINNA, HARRIEL HIGHLIGHT 14 PLAYERS NAMED ALL-BIG SKY
November 14, 2017 FOOTBALL READIES FOR 64TH ANNUAL CAUSEWAY CLASSIC ON SATURDAY
November 11, 2017 FOOTBALL BLOWS PAST CAL POLY, 49-14, GUARANTEES WINNING RECORD
November 7, 2017 FOOTBALL HEADS TO CAL POLY FOR FINAL ROAD GAME THIS SATURDAY
November 4, 2017 FOOTBALL PULLS AWAY FOR 50-21 WIN OVER NORTHERN COLORADO
October 28, 2017 FOOTBALL TOPPED BY NO. 24 NORTHERN ARIZONA. 37-17
October 24, 2017 FOOTBALL PLAYS AT NORTHERN ARIZONA ON SATURDAY IN FIRST-PLACE BATTLE
October 21, 2017 FOOTBALL WINS 34-27 AT NORTH DAKOTA
October 17, 2017 FOOTBALL SEARCHES FOR ROAD WIN AT NORTH DAKOTA ON SATURDAY
October 14, 2017 FOOTBALL TOPS IDAHO STATE, 41-21, ON HOMECOMING
October 10, 2017 HOMECOMING UP NEXT FOR FOOTBALL AGAINST IDAHO STATE ON SATURDAY
September 30, 2017 FOOTBALL OUTGUNNED BY No. 9 EASTERN WASHINGTON, 52-31
September 26, 2017 FOOTBALL TRAVELS TO No. 9 EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY
September 25, 2017 THOMSON NAMED FCS NATIONAL AND BIG SKY OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
September 23, 2017 FOOTBALL RUSHES TO 1-0 START IN BIG SKY WITH 54-27 WIN OVER SOUTHERN UTAH
September 19, 2017 FOOTBALL CAPS HOMESTAND AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH ON SATURDAY
September 16, 2017 FOOTBALL CAN'T OVERCOME EARLY DEFICIT IN 31-24 LOSS TO WEBER STATE
September 13, 2017 FOOTBALL CONTINUES HOMESTAND AGAINST WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
September 11, 2017 TERRELL NAMED FCS NATIONAL AND BIG SKY DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
September 9, 2017 FOOTBALL ROLLS TO 56-22 WIN OVER INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER
September 7, 2017 FOOTBALL GAMES TO FEATURE A BEER GARDEN IN 2017
September 5, 2017 FOOTBALL HOSTS INCARNATE WORD IN HOME OPENER ON SATURDAY
August 31, 2017 FOOTBALL FALLS TO IDAHO, 28-6, IN SEASON OPENER
August 28, 2017 FOOTBALL STARTS 2017 AT IDAHO ON THURSDAY
August 17, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: JOSEPH AJEIGBE
August 12, 2017 NEWCOMERS SHOWCASED IN FIRST SCRIMMAGE OF CAMP
August 8, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: BEN SORENSEN
August 2, 2017 TRAINING CAMP Q&A: ISIAH HENNIE
July 31, 2017 NFL CAMPS OPEN WITH THREE HORNETS IN ATTENDANCE
July 18, 2017 Q&A WITH HEAD COACH JODY SEARS AT BIG SKY KICKOFF
June 19, 2017 FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES 2017 HALL OF FAME CLASS