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TOP 10 SHOWDOWN COMES TO HORNET STADIUM ON SATURDAY NIGHT

TOP 10 SHOWDOWN COMES TO HORNET STADIUM ON SATURDAY NIGHT

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A BRIEF PREVIEW

  • One of only two FCS games that will pit two top 10 schools against one another will take place at Hornet Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 2, when the No. 6-ranked Sacramento State hosts No. 3 Weber State. The game will kick off at 6:05 p.m. PT.
  • Both teams enter with 6-2 overall records and 4-0 marks in the Big Sky Conference. The winner of the game will take sole possession of first place while the loser will suffer its first loss against an FCS team. The contest will also see the two head coaches square off against one another as Sacramento State's Troy Taylor serves as the Hornets' offensive coordinator and Weber State's Jay Hill is his team's defensive coordinator.
  • Sacramento State extended its win streak to four games with a 38-14 win at Cal Poly last Saturday. The Hornets beat the Mustangs at their own game, outrushing CP, 348-116, and having Elijah Dotson and Kevin Thomson each rush for over 100 yards.
  • There will be multiple ways to follow this week's game. Hornet fans can tune in to ESPN 1320 AM to hear the radio call of Jason Ross, Joe Davidson and Danny Sullivan. Live audio streaming is also available via www.hornetsports.com.
  • CW31 will televise the game in the Sacramento region and the game can be viewed live on Pluto.TV. Dave Lewis will handle the play-by-play and will be joined by former Hornet quarterback and Arena Football League record-holder Aaron Garcia (color).

OPPONENT PREVIEW: WEBER STATE

  • Weber State remained perfect against FCS opponents with a 36-20 win at UC Davis last Saturday. The Wildcats took advantage of five field goals from kicker Trey Tuttle and never trailed against the Aggies. WSU pressured Jake Maier all game and limited UC Davis to 160 passing yards and 204 yards of total offense.
  • Josh Davis leads the Weber State offense with 86.2 yards per game. Davis had a breakout performance against  Northern Arizona where he rushed for 328 yards and scored five total touchdowns. Jake Constantine and Kaden Jenks have split time at quarterback. Constantine has thrown three touchdowns with four interceptions while Jenks has four TDs and one pick.
  • Six Wildcats have at least 30 tackles this season led by Preston Smith's 46. Jonah Williams and George Tarlas have 5.0 sacks apiece while Adam Rodriguez has tallied 4.5.
  • Jay Hill is in his sixth year as the team's head coach. Hill previously was an assistant at Utah.

THERE IS NO COMPARISON

  • Sacramento State found itself in a new position, winning its fourth consecutive game in the same season following its win at Cal Poly. Since moving to Div. I-AA/FCS in 1994, the longest previous same-season win streak was three. That was done seven times, most recently in 2017.
  • The last Hornet team to win four games in a row during the same season came in 1991 when Sacramento State started the year 6-0. That team finished the season with an 8-2 overall record.
    In the 26 FCS seasons in program history, this year's four game win streak would at least equal the total number of victories in 14 of those years.
  • One more win this year would tie the Sacramento State record for single-season victories. The Hornets won seven games in 2000 (7-4), 2014 (7-5) and 2017 (7-4) but were not selected to the playoffs in any of those seasons. The best Big Sky record in school history was 6-2 in 2017.

RANKINGS REHASH

  • Sacramento State improved to sixth in both the STATS FCS media poll and AFCA FCS coaches poll following the win at Cal Poly. The Hornets are now ranked for three straight weeks for the second time since moving to Div. I in 1993.
  • The No. 6 ranking is the highest for Sacramento State in program history. The previous high prior to this year was 12th in 2011 after winning at Oregon State.
  • The Hornets are now 3-6 all-time when ranked. Two of those wins have come this year.
  • Sacramento State has already knocked off three ranked opponents in No. 22 Eastern Washington, No. 6 Montana State and No. 5 Montana. This week's game against No. 3 Weber State will mark the first time since 2010 the team has played at least four games against top 25 teams and the first against three top 10 teams since 1996.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS

  • Sacramento State has started Big Sky play with a 4-0 record for the first time since becoming a member of the league in 1996. In fact, prior to this year, the only other time the team began 2-0 was 2013.
  • The last Hornet team to open up conference play 4-0 was in 1986 when Sacramento State began the Western Football Conference with a 4-0 record and finished 5-1 in league. The 1969 team was also 4-0 in the Far Western Conference before finishing 5-1. In 1966, Sacramento State went 6-0 to win the FWC. The only other occurrence came in 1964 where the team was 4-0 and finished 4-0-1.

DOTSON MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW

  • Elijah Dotson was selected as the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts at Cal Poly. Amazingly, the honor was the first for Dotson during his career and he followed Kevin Thomson who earned the award following the previous two weeks.
  • Against the Mustangs, Dotson rushed for a season high 175 yards and had three touchdowns. He also caught a team-high six passes for 51 yards to finish the game with 226 all-purpose yards. The junior scored the team's first TD on a 19-yard rush early in the second quarter. He began the second half with a 1-yard scoring run and ended the night with an electrifying 30-yard touchdown which saw him evade several would-be tacklers.
  • The Antelope HS graduate averaged 9.7 yards per carry against Cal Poly on a season high 19 attempts. The performance was his second 100-yard effort this season and the eighth of his career — which ranks eighth in school history.
  • Dotson now has 1,055 all-purpose yards this season and leads the team with nine touchdowns. His average of 131.9 all-purpose yards per game leads the Big Sky.

HE IS NOT ALONE

  • Dotson now has two 100-yard rushing games and a pair of 100-yard receiving games this year. In each of those contests there has been another 100-yard performer for the team.
  • Against Northern Colorado, Dotson had 158 receiving yards while Pierre Williams added 115. Two weeks later, Dotson rushed for 102 yards against EWU and Isaiah Gable had a career high 104 receiving yards. Williams and Dotson each had over 100 receiving yards against Montana with 153 and 124, respectively. This past week, it was quarterback Kevin Thomson who rushed for 107 yards to join Dotson in triple digits.

SHUTTING IT DOWN

  • Sacramento State recorded one of its best defensive performances in recent memory in its win at Cal Poly. The Hornets limited the Mustangs to a season-low 202 yards of total offense and had 12 tackles-for-loss, including six sacks.
  • Cal Poly entered the game leading the Big Sky and ranked ninth in the FCS at 252.9 rushing yards per game. Against the Hornets, the Mustangs rushed 55 times but were held to 116 yards for their season low while being limited to 2.1 yards per carry.
  • Sacramento State played the game without starting defensive tackle Dariyn Choates but didn't miss a beat as the team rotated linemen throughout the game. Twenty-two different players were credited with at least two tackles with Marcus Hawkins (nine) and Josiah Erickson (eight) leading the way.
  • Erickson and fellow defensive end George Obinna each had 2.5 tackles-for-loss to tie for the team lead and were two of 11 Hornets players to have a TFL.
  • The balanced defense is nothing new for the team this year as Sacramento State has six players with at least 30 tackles, 12 with 20 or more and 22 in double digits. Hawkins leads the team with 53 total stops in his first season after transferring from Fresno City JC.
  • Erickson became the third Hornet to get 10-plus TFLs this season. The junior has 10.0 which easily surpassed his previous high of 3.0. Erickson was limited to just five games in 2016 and 2017 before missing all of last season due to injury.

SHARING THE BALL

  • Sacramento State has completed passes to 15 different receivers this season, including seven who have caught at least 10 passes. Elijah Dotson leads the group with 53 receptions while Pierre Williams has a team high 656 receiving yards on 38 grabs.
  • Eleven of the 15 players who have caught a pass this year have also caught a touchdown. Among the four who have not had a TD is Kevin Thomson who brought in his own batted pass attempt earlier this year. Williams has a team-high five receiving touchdowns and is closely followed by four from Dotson and three from tight end Marshel Martin.
  • True freshman Andrew Hem has the highest productivity rate this season, catching a 40-yard touchdown pass against Montana on his only target of the year.

KEEPING HIM UPRIGHT

  • Part of Thomson's success has to be credited to the offensive line which has not allowed a sack in three of the four Big Sky games and four of seven games overall. Sacramento State is currently tied for ninth in the FCS and leads the Big Sky in fewest sacks allowed at 1.00 per game.
  • If you only include teams that have attempted at least 250 passes this season, the Hornets would be tied for fifth nationally.
  • Sacramento State has had the luxury of starting the same lineup in each game this season with Troy Stiefel and Nick Bianco on the left side of the line, Wyatt Ming at center and Thomas Parker and Brandon Weldon on the right side.

SEASON OF FIRSTS

  • The first half of the 2019 season has already seen Sacramento State record several firsts in program history:The win against EWU was the first at home against the Eagles in 13 tries.
  • The victory at Montana State was the first since joining Big Sky Conference.
  • The win over Montana was the first for a ranked Hornet team against an FCS opponent. It was also the first home victory when ranked in the FCS top 25.
  • The team has defeated three ranked FCS opponents for the first time in a single season.

RESETTING THE CLOCK

  • Kevin Thomson is currently the all-time leader in two career passing categories. His career pass efficiency of 158.8 is well ahead of the second place mark of 146.5 set by Tony Trosin (1998). Thomson has also averaged 9.02 yards per pass attempt and is well beyond the second place average of 8.24 from Ricky Ray (1999-2000).
  • The Auburn, Wash., native is also fourth in career completions (366), sixth in career attempts (608, third in career completion percentage (.602) and second in career yards per game (238.6).
  • Thomson has set his career highs for completions (32), attempts (50) and yards (361) and tied his high for passing touchdowns (5) this season.
  • Below is where Thomson ranks among the school's all-time leaders:

    Career Passing Yards    Total    Needs
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    8,376    2,889
    3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    5,487    ---

    Career Passing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    86    38
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    50    2
    3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    48    ---

    Career Total Offense    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    11,619    5,104
    2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04)    8,455    1,940
    3. Charles Roberts (1997-2000)    6,613    98
    4. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    6,515    ---

    Career TDs Responsible For    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2011-14)    102    37
    2. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.)    65    ---

    Single Season Passing TDs    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2014)    34    11
    2. Garrett Safron (2013)    27    4
    T3. Jeff Fleming (2013)    23    --
    T3. Kevin Thomson (2019)    23    ---

    Single Season Passing Yards    Total    Needs
    5. Garrett Safron (2012)    2,540    261
    6. Tony Corbin (1995)    2,532    253
    7. Ricky Ray (1999)    2,422    143
    8. Tony Corbin (1996)    2,334    55
    9. Drew Wyant (1989)    2,280    1
    10. Kevin Thomson (2019)    2,279    ---

    Single Season Completions    Total    Needs
    3. Garrett Safron (2012)    246    56
    4. Ryan Leadingham (2002)    220    30
    5. Ryan Leadingham (2001)    214    24
    6. Kevin Thomson (2019)    190    ---

    Single Season TDs Responsible For    Total    Needs
    1. Garrett Safron (2014    38    8
    2. Garrett Safron (2013)    34    4
    3. Garrett Safron (2012)    31    1
    4. Kevin Thomson (2019)    30    ---

ALMOST THERE

  • With 1.5 sacks at Cal Poly, George Obinna is now just a half sack away from tying the Sacramento State career record which is held by Zack Nash. Obinna has 9.5 sacks this season which leads the team and is just a half-sack away from crashing the single-season top 10 list in Hornet history.
  • Sacramento State's season total of 32 sacks (4.00 per game) ranks third nationally and is first in the Big Sky. Thirteen different players have been credited with a sack with George Obinna leading the way. This year's total already surpassed last year's mark of 13. In 2017, the Hornets had 43 team sacks which ranked second in program history and was the most in the school's Div. FCS era.
  • The team is fourth in the FCS with 9.5 TFLs per game. Overall, Sacramento State has 76 TFLs as a team in eight games which is more than twice the amount of the opponents (36).
    Despite not playing against Cal Poly, Dariyn Choates remains the team leader with 13.0 TFLs this season. Choates is also knocking on the single-season top 10 list as he needs a half TFL to move into a tie for 10th place alongside former All-Americans Todd Davis and Cyrus Mulitalo.
  • Obinna was a first team all-Big Sky selection in 2017 and entered last season having been named to three preseason FCS All-America teams as well as preseason all-Big Sky. He suffered an injury in the first game against Saint Francis and returned two weeks later at Northern Colorado where he was lost for the season with an ankle injury.
  • Choates was named honorable mention all-Big Sky in 2017 after setting career highs with 9.5 TFLs and 5.0 sacks. As part of his 13.0 TFLs this season, Choates also has a career high 29 total tackles and 5.0 sacks.
  • Below is where Obinna and Choates ranks in the Sacramento State record book:

    Career Sacks    Total    Needs
    1. Zack Nash (2008-11)    29.5    0.5
    2. George Obinna (2015-pres.)    29.0    ---

    Career Tackles-For-Loss    Total    Needs
    1. Mike Brannon (2005-08)    52.5    13.5
    2. Matt Logue (2002-05)    45.5    6.0
    3. Anthony Daisley (1999-2000)    44.0    4.5
    4. Ryland Wickman (1995-98)    40.5    1.0
    5. Zack Nash (2008-11)    40.5    1.0
    6. George Obinna (2015-pres.)    39.5    ---     

    Single-Season Sacks    Total    Needs
    T5. Randy Rains (1986)    11.5    2.0
    T5. Kelly Osborn (1984)    11.5    2.0
    7. Zack Nash (2011)    10.5    1.0
    T8. Christian Clark (2009)    10.0    0.5
    T8. Jacob Houston (2004)    10.0    0.5
    T8. Dustin Smith (1998)    10.0    0.5
    -- George Obinna (2015-pres.)    29.0    ---

    Single-Season TFLs    Total    Needs
    4. Zack Nash (2010)    16.5    3.5/4.0
    5. Ryland Wickman (1997)    16.0    3.0/3.5
    6. Christian Clark (2009)    15.5    2.5/3.0
    7. Zack Nash (2011)    15.0    2.0/2.5
    8. Matt Logue (2005)    14.5    1.5/2.0
    9. Jacob Houston (2004)    14.0    1.0/1.5
    T10. Todd Davis (2012)    13.5    0.5/1.0
    T10. Cyrus Mulitalo (2007)    13.5    0.5/1.0
    -- Dariyn Choates (2019)    13.0    ---
    -- George Obinna (2019)    12.5    ---

DUAL-THREAT DOTSON

  • Junior Elijah Dotson continued to show his versatility, with a team-high 175 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards at Cal Poly. Dotson finished the game with a season-high 226 all-purpose yards and has now been over the century against every non-FBS opponent this season.
  • Overall, Dotson has 1,055 all-purpose yards, ranks 24th in the FCS and leads the Big Sky at 131.9 yards per game. His career average of 116.8 ranks sixth in school history.
  • Last season, Dotson led the team with 1,154 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 1,314 all-purpose yards. He became the first Hornet running back to earn first team all-Big Sky honors since Charles Roberts who did it three years in a row (1998-2000). Dotson's average of 115.4 yards per game was the third highest in school history while his total of 1,154 yards placed him seventh despite the team playing on 10 games during the regular season. He also moved into fifth place in school history with an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
  • Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:

    Career Rushing Yards    Total    Needs
    6. Troy Mills (1990-91)    2,771    700
    8. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    2,071    ---

    Career Rushing Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    T5. Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    25    6
    T5. Troy Mills (1990-91)    25    6
    7. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    19    ---

    Career All-Purpose Yards    Total    Needs
    6. Lamont Webb (1997-2000)    3,716    330
    7. Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    3,700    314
    8. Bryan Hilliard (2007-11)    3,540    154
    9. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    3,386    ---

    Career Touchdowns    Total    Needs
    6. Jordan Robinson (2013-16)    30    5
    T7. Fred Amey (2001-04)    29    4
    T7. Troy Mills (1990-91)    29    4
    9. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.)    25    ---

QUICK HITTERS

  • CB Caelan Barnes, DB Marcus Bruce, DT Dariyn Choates, RB Elijah Dotson, OL Wyatt Ming and QB Kevin Thomson were named team captains following a vote of the players.
    The 2019 Sacramento State football schedule was named the toughest in the Big Sky Conference and the ninth most difficult in the FCS by HERO Sports. The Hornets will play FBS Arizona State and Fresno State in the non-conference portion of its schedule before facing eight of the top nine ranked teams from the preseason Big Sky poll in conference play. The team's four home games will come against schools picked to finished 1-4 in both the preseason and media poll.
  • Four Sacramento State players were granted additional years of eligibility by the NCAA during the spring. The four, who were all listed as seniors in 2018, are comprised of kicker Devon Medeiros, offensive guard Wyatt Ming, defensive end George Obinna and quarterback Kevin Thomson. Ming played in just one game last season and Obinna in only two due to injuries. Medeiros was granted the extension after he was limited to two games during 2016. Thomson was given a nearly unprecedented two years of additional eligibility meaning he will go from being listed as a senior during the 2018 season to a junior in 2019. He missed his first three years of collegiate football due to an elbow injury.
  • Ming, Medeiros and Thomson are two of six players on the 2019 roster that have already earned their bachelor's degree. They are joined by offensive lineman Nick Bianco and graduate transfers Isaiah Bailey and Joey Lewis.
  • Bianco was named as one of the 185 semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
  • The 77 points scored by Sacramento State in the season opener were the most in program history and tied for the most in the FCS this season.
  • The 50-0 win over Northern Colorado was the team's first shutout since a 14-0 contest at UNC in 2011 which was played in heavy rain. The last home shutout was a 30-0 win over SF State in 1994.
  • Sacramento State had an interception and fumble return for touchdowns against Eastern Washington. The team had not had two defensive TDs in a game since 2009.
  • Sacramento State has already had five Big Sky Athletes of the Week this season which is the most for the team since 2012. The school had six selections in 1998 and 1999.
  • Devon Medeiros set the Sacramento State career record for PATs during the 2019 season. Medeiros currently has 116 extra points which betters Scott Brown's record of 107.
  • The 2019 defensive coaching staff may be new to the Hornets but they are no strangers to the Big Sky Conference. The trio of Andy Thompson (DC/LB), Cherokee Valeria (secondary) and Kraig Paulson (DL) own a combined 50 years as experience as coaches and players in the conference.
  • The offensive staff is on the opposite end of the spectrum for Big Sky experience as running backs coach James Montgomery is in his sixth year with the team and head coach Troy Taylor spent one year as the OC at Eastern Washington.
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