A BRIEF PREVIEW
- Following a dramatic 38-34 last minute victory, the Sacramento State football team will play its final regular season road game on Saturday, Nov. 16, when it travels to Idaho. The game against the Vandals will kick off at 2 p.m. PT from the Kibbie Dome.
- The Hornets enter the week ranked sixth in both the STATS FCS media poll and the AFCA FCS coaches poll. Sacramento State (7-3 overall, 5-1 Big Sky) has been ranked among the top 10 for four consecutive weeks. Idaho dropped to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in Big Sky play after a loss at Montana.
- A victory by Sacramento State this week would set several program records. No Hornet team has won more than seven games in the school's Div. I era and the last time it occurred at the Div. II level came in 1991 (8-2). Sacramento State could also tie a program record with its sixth Big Sky victory. The team went 5-3 in two seasons (2000 & 2010) and was 6-2 in 2017.
- 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, Steve McElroy and Danny Sullivan. Live audio streaming is also available via www.hornetsports.com.
- The game will also be shown on CW31 in the Sacramento area, SWX in the Pacific Northwest and streamed on Pluto.TV with Sam Adams and Adam Shackleford providing the commentary. Pluto.TV is a free service available on computers, smart TVs, mobile devices and video game consoles.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: IDAHO
- Idaho has been very good at the Kibbie Dome this season, winning four of five contests with the lone loss coming to Weber State (41-35). The Vandals have had little difficulty in their last two home games, defeating Idaho State (45-21) and Cal Poly (21-9).
- Mason Petrino guides the Idaho offense with 1,613 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Jeff Cotton has been his favorite target, catching 70 passes for 911 yards and five TDs. Aundre Carter is the leading rusher with 601 yards and seven scores.
- The Vandal defense is one of the best against the pass in the Big Sky. Idaho ranks second in the league in fewest passing yards allowed and is third in defensive pass efficiency.
Paul Petrino is in his seventh season leading Idaho. Petrino has a 27-54 overall records which spans the team's tenure in the FBS before transitioning to the FCS in 2018.
COMING DOWN TO THE WIRE
- Saturday's victory was the seventh in the final minute in Sacramento State's Div. I era but the first in which the team scored twice in the last two minutes.
After Northern Arizona stopped the Hornets on fourth down with 3:18 remaining, the ESPN win probability app gave the Lumberjacks a 99.6 percent chance for victory. The Hornets took advantage of the 0.4 percent chance to steal the win behind two touchdowns in the final 98 seconds.
- Tyson Becker provided the Hornets with their first last minute win in the Div. I era with a 29-yard field goal to put the team on top with 16 seconds remaining on Oct. 21, 1995 at Cal Poly.
On Oct. 21, 2000, Jimmy Sanchez connected on a 23-yard field as time expired at Eastern Washington for a 25-22 Hornet win.
- Tony Washington pulled in the "Great Greeley Grab" with a 44-yard Hail Mary reception as time expired to give Sacramento State a 20-17 win at Northern Colorado on Nov. 10, 2007.
On Nov. 21, 2009, Brandyn Reed caught a 13-yard pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson with 20 seconds remaining for a 31-28 win over UC Davis. The TD erased an 11-point fourth quarter deficit for the team.
- Edgar Castaneda earned national recognition with 30-yard field goal as the clock hit zero for a 30-28 win at Colorado on Sept. 8, 2012.
- The most recent last minute win came on Nov. 16, 2013, when Cole Hikutini caught a 4-yard TD pass from Garrett Safron with 30 seconds left at Portland State. The Hornets scored 14 points in the final eight minutes for a 43-42 win.
- Among the seven last minute victories, the win over UC Davis was the only one that occurred at Hornet Stadium. That game earned the moniker of "The Mattos March" as the team dedicated the game to the former head coach who passed away earlier that week.
MEDEIROS NAMED POTW, AGAIN
- Sacramento State kicker Devon Medeiros was named the Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. The honor was the second for Medeiros this season.
- In the team's 38-34 win at Northern Arizona, Medeiros accounted for eight points behind a 41-yard field goal and making all five of his extra point attempts. While his points were needed, it was his onside kick that kept Sacramento State's hopes for victory alive. Medeiros' onside attempt bounced perfectly over the head of the NAU front line and was recovered by Pierre Williams near midfield. Sacramento State then needed just five plays to take the lead when Jake Dunniway connected with Williams for an 18-yard touchdown.
- Medeiros is ranked among the top five in nearly every career kicking record at Sacramento State. He is fifth in career points with 216. That total ranks second among kickers, trailing only Scott Brown's record of 239. Medeiros already owns the school record with 123 PATs, is third with 31 career field goals, second in PAT percentage (.968) and fifth in career field goal percentage (.689).
He previously earned the award after making a pair of field goals and five extra points in a win over No. 5 Montana.
- Jake Dunniway made his first start at Sacramento State a memorable one, leading the Hornets to a 38-34 win in the final minute. Dunniway completed 27-of-44 passes for 384 yard and four touchdowns and also rushed for 18 yards.
- His yardage total ranks 10th in school history and is the most by a Hornet QB since 2014. Dunniway also moved into a tie for eighth place in program single-game history with four TD passes. His yardage total, touchdowns and pass efficiency were all school records for a quarterback in his first start.
- Dunniway was a highly touted high school quarterback at St. Mary's HS in Stockton, Calif. He led the Rams to league titles as a junior and senior after throwing for 2,584 yards and 4,066 yards, respectively. As a senior, he tossed 46 touchdowns and guided St. Mary's to a Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I title with a win over Folsom HS in the 2016 finals at Hornet Stadium.
- Dunniway began his collegiate career at UC Davis where he redshirted in 2017. He transferred to San Diego Mesa JC last year and was named first team all-National Central League. That year, he threw for 2,888 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 61.5 percent of his passes.
ISN' T THAT SPECIAL
- Coaches routinely preach the importance of the three facets of the game but it's the special teams that are regularly overlooked. On Saturday against Northern Arizona, special teams played a large role in Sacramento State's success with five big plays.
- Punter Sam Clark boomed a 73-yard punt in the fourth quarter. That kick placed him fourth in school history and was the second longest by a Hornet punter since 1973.
- Clark also floated a punt in the third quarter which was downed inside the 1-yard line. The 39-yard punt was caught out of the air by Robert Lewis who tight roped the goal line and help flipped the field.
- Devon Medeiros gave Sacramento State a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter with a 41-yard field goal. The kick was his second longest of the season and his seventh 40-plus yard field goal of his career.
- Daron Bland set up the first of two touchdowns in the final two minutes with a 44-yard punt return. The Hornets used deception on the play with nearly all blockers moving right while Bland ran up the left sideline.
- Medeiros then executed the onside kick to perfection, allowing Pierre Williams to come down with the ball and setting up the go-ahead score.
MARTIN TIES TIGHT END RECORD
- Redshirt freshman Marshel Martin helped the Hornets get off to a quick start with two first quarter touchdowns against Northern Arizona. Martin ran wide open down the middle of the field for a 63-yard score on the team's first offensive possession of the game. He added a 14-yard touchdown reception on the second drive.
- Martin finished the game with four catches for a career high 92 yards. He now ranks third on the team with 28 receptions for 399 yards and six touchdowns.
- Throwing to the tight end is a relative new thing for the Hornets. The most touchdowns scored by tight ends during the last 15 seasons belonged to TJ Knowles and Cole Hikutini who each had five scores in 2012 and 2013, respectively. McRueben Fleurinord is the only player to have multiple scores in two seasons as he had four touchdowns in 2005 and two in 2004. The other tight ends with multiple receiving TDs are: Matt Carter (4, 2010), Chris Broadnax (2, 2014), Reese Heaslett (2, 2010), Brian Heath (2, 2009) and Tommy Briggs (2, 2005).
- Chris Kelly held the school's Div. I-era tight end record with six touchdown catches in 1999. Kelly had four of those six in an overtime loss to Montana which at the time set the school single-game record. Martin tied Kelly's single-season record with his second TD catch at NAU.
- Sacramento State moved up two spots to sixth in both the STATS FCS media poll and AFCA FCS coaches poll. The Hornets are now ranked for five straight weeks for the first time since moving to Div. I in 1993. Sacramento State was eighth last week but South Dakota State and Central Arkansas, who were both ranked ahead of the Hornets, lost this past weekend.
- The No. 6 ranking is tied for the highest for Sacramento State in program history. The previous high prior to this year was 12th in 2011 after winning at Oregon State.
- Sacramento State has already knocked off three ranked opponents in No. 22 Eastern Washington, No. 6 Montana State and No. 5 Montana. The game against No. 3 Weber State marked 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.
- Prior to this year, the Hornets had not beaten a top 25 team since a 39-25 win against No. 11 Cal Poly in 2012. The previous highest ranked team before this season was a 24-21 win at No. 8 Northern Arizona in 2002.
- The NCAA FCS selection committee tabbed the Hornets fifth in their initial rankings based on postseason selection criteria. Defending national champion North Dakota State was seeded first and was followed by James Madison, Weber State and South Dakota State.
SEASON OF FIRSTS
- 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.
- Sacramento State won its first four Big Sky games for the first time in program history.
- The team was victorious in its first three Big Sky road games for the first time.
WILLIAMS NEARS CAREER TOP 10
- Pierre Williams had a team-high seven receptions at NAU for 78 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. The sophomore averaged over 10 yards per catch with a long of 18 yards on the game-winning TD.
Williams began garnering attention with his performance on the scout team while redshirting in 2017. That year, he would routinely make highlight reel catches while matching up against starters who were four to five years his elder. Last season, he played a complimentary role to Andre Lindsey and Jaelin Ratliff but finished the year with 31 receptions for 553 yards and five TDs.
- This year, he leads the team with 869 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns and is second with 50 receptions. Williams joined former All-American Fred Amey as the only players in school history to have at least 500 yards during their freshman and sophomore seasons.
- The Patterson, Calif., native has also moved onto the Sacramento State top 20 list for career receiving yards and is close to the joining in the list in career receptions and career touchdowns.
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
10. Scott Towne (1997-2000) 1,646 224
11. Isiah Hennie (2014-17) 1,523 101
12. Kevin Fontes (1981-82) 1,468 46
13. Pierre Williams (2018-pres.) 1,422 ---
A NEW ALL-TIME SACK LEADER
- With two sacks against Weber State, George Obinna moved past Zack Nash to become the all-time career sacks leader in Sacramento State history. Obinna added a sack at NAU and now has 32.0 career sacks.
- The senior ranks second in the FCS and leads the Big Sky with 1.25 sacks per game this season. His total of 12.5 is the second most in program history and leaves him just a half sack short of Nash for the school record.
- Obinna is also in fourth place on the school career tackles-for-loss list as he raised his total to 42.5. He has a team high 15.5 TFLs this season and his average of 1.6 per game ranks third in the Big Sky and 16th nationally.
- Not to be outdone, Dariyn Choates ranks second in the conference and ninth in the FCS with 1.7 TFLs per game. Choates has 15.0 total TFLs this season which leaves him just behind Obinna for the team lead.
- Sacramento State's season total of 38 sacks (3.80 per game) ranks second 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 fifth in the FCS with 8.8 TFLs per game. Overall, Sacramento State has 88 TFLs as a team in 10 games which is just shy than more than twice the amount of the opponents (45).
- 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.
- Choates was named honorable mention all-Big Sky in 2017 after setting career highs with 9.5 TFLs and 5.0 sacks.
- Below is where Obinna and Choates ranks in the Sacramento State record book:
Career Sacks Total Needs
1. George Obinna (2015-pres.) 32.0 ---
2. Zack Nash (2008-11) 29.5 ---
Career Tackles-For-Loss Total Needs
1. Mike Brannon (2005-08) 52.5 10.5
2. Matt Logue (2002-05) 45.5 3.0
3. Anthony Daisley (1999-2000) 44.0 1.5
4. George Obinna (2015-pres.) 42.5 ---
Single-Season Sacks Total Needs
1. Zack Nash (2010) 13.0 0.5
2. George Obinna (2019) 12.5 ---
Single-Season TFLs Total Needs
1. Anthony Daisley (1999) 25.0 9.5/10.0
2. Anthony Daisley (2000) 19.0 3.5/4.0
3. Mike Brannon (2007) 18.0 2.5/3.0
4. Zack Nash (2010) 16.5 1.0/1/5
5. Ryland Wickman (1997) 16.0 0.5/1.0
T6. Christian Clark (2009) 15.5 ---/0.5
T6. George Obinna (2019) 15.5 ---/0.5
T8. Zack Nash (2011) 15.0 ---/---
T8. Dariyn Choates (2019) 15.0 ---/---
- Elijah Dotson continued to show his versatility, with a team-high 83 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards at Northern Arizona. The junior finished the game with a team-high 135 all-purpose yards and has now been over the century against every non-FBS opponent this season except one (Weber State).
- Overall, Dotson has 1,215 all-purpose yards, ranks 28th in the FCS and second in the Big Sky at 121.5 yards per game. His career average of 114.4 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) 2,771 582
8. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 2,189 ---
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) 3,716 170
7. Jordan Robinson (2013-16) 3,700 154
8. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 3,546 ---
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 ---
RESETTING THE CLOCK
- Kevin Thomson is currently the all-time leader in two career passing categories. His career pass efficiency of 158.1 is well ahead of the second place mark of 146.5 set by Tony Trosin (1998). Thomson has also averaged 8.99 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 (375), sixth in career attempts (626), third in career completion percentage (.599) and second in career yards per game (234.6).
- 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 2,745
3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 5,631 ---
Career Passing Touchdowns Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron (2011-14) 86 37
2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04) 50 1
3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 49 ---
Career Total Offense Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron (2011-14) 11,619 5,104
2. Ryan Leadingham (2001-04) 8,455 1,940
3. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 6,672 ---
Career TDs Responsible For Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron (2011-14) 102 36
2. Kevin Thomson (2017-pres.) 66 ---
Single Season Passing TDs Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron (2014) 34 10
2. Garrett Safron (2013) 27 3
3. Kevin Thomson (2019) 24 ---
Single Season Passing Yards Total Needs
5. Garrett Safron (2012) 2,540 117
6. Tony Corbin (1995) 2,532 109
7. Kevin Thomson (2019) 2,423 ---
Single Season Completions Total Needs
3. Garrett Safron (2012) 246 47
4. Ryan Leadingham (2002) 220 21
5. Ryan Leadingham (2001) 214 15
6. Kevin Thomson (2019) 199 ---
Single Season TDs Responsible For Total Needs
1. Garrett Safron (2014 38 7
2. Garrett Safron (2013) 34 3
T3. Garrett Safron (2012) 31 ---
T3. Kevin Thomson (2019) 31 ---
- 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 played 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 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 2019, 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 six Big Sky Athletes of the Week this season ties the program record from 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.