A BRIEF PREVIEW
- The Sacramento State football team will play its final non-conference game of the year when it makes the short trip to the Bay Area to take on California on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m.
- The Hornets enter the week with a 1-1 overall record following a 34-16 loss to No. 15 UNI last Saturday at Hornet Stadium. Sacramento State was plagued by six turnovers in the game and saw the Panthers score 27 points in the third quarter.
- 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 be shown on the Pac-12 Network with Jim Kozimor and Bob Davie providing the play-by-play.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: CALIFORNIA
- Cal dropped to 0-2 after a 34-32 loss at TCU on Sept. 11. The Golden Bears jumped out to a 12-0 lead and eventually led, 19-7, before the Horned Frogs began their comeback. TCU took its first lead with a 45-yard touchdown pass with just under 10 minutes to play and then added a 9-yard rushing score with 5:47 remaining in the contest. Cal pulled within two points with 4:09 left but its two-point conversion failed.
- The Golden Bears opened their season with a 22-17 loss to Nevada at Memorial Stadium.
- Chase Garbers has been efficient leading the offense, completing 63.1 percent of his pass attempts and averaging 243.0 passing yards per game. Garbers has thrown three touchdowns with one interception. Eleven different players have caught a pass this year, led by Nikko Remigio who has 10 receptions with two touchdowns. Trevon Clark leads the team with 157 receiving yards and is one of three players who average better 20 yards per reception. Damien Moore is the leading rusher with 150 yards and three scores.
- The team's defense is guided by Daniel Scott, Evan Tattersall and Elijah Hicks who each have 12 tackles. Scott and Mike Williams also account for the team's interceptions this year.
- Justin Wilcox is in his fifth season as the team's head coach. Wilcox, who served as the defensive coordinator at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, USC and Wisconsin before getting the job, owns a 21-23 record.
- This is the third meeting between Sacramento State and Cal. The team's first met in 2005 and then in 2014 with the Golden Bears winning both contests by an average of 39.5 points.
A LOOK AT THE LATEST ACTION
- Sacramento State rallied to take a two-point lead into halftime but No. 15 UNI responded with 27-unanswered points in the third quarter on the way to a 34-16 win at Hornet Stadium.
- UNI capitalized on a Hornet fumble to score the game's first points. The Panthers took over just outside the red zone and then scored on a 14-yard Deion McShane rush just under five minutes into the game.
- Sacramento State chipped away at the deficit before taking a 9-7 lead into halftime. Kyle Sentkowski accounted for all nine points with field goals of 40, 26, and 32 yards. His final attempt came with eight seconds remaining in the second quarter.
- UNI put the game out of reach in the third quarter with 27-unanswered points. Theo Day came on at quarterback and threw for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the quarter.
- Sacramento State stopped the streak with a 5-play, 69-yard drive which was capped by an 11-yard rush from Elijah Dotson.
- The Hornets were plagued by mistakes throughout the game, finishing with six turnovers (which turned into three touchdowns) and committing seven penalties for 76 yards.
- Asher O'Hara threw for 338 yards but did have three interceptions. O'Hara was also the team's leading rusher with 55 yards on the ground. Pierre Williams and Elijah Dotson each caught nine passes while Marshel
- Martin had seven. Williams led all players in the game with 122 receiving yards for his fifth career 100-yard effort.
- Three players in the game had double-digit tackles led by 15 from UNI's Spencer Cuvelier. Korby Sander contributed 11 for the Panthers while Cameron Broussard had a career-best 10 for the Hornets.
MAKING THE JUMP
- Facing a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent is nothing new for Sacramento State. Since 2002, the team has played at least one FBS foe every season. Included in that list was the 2011 upset at Oregon State and the 2012 victory at Colorado.
- In 2019, Sacramento State played at Arizona State and Fresno State. The team was competitive in both contests, falling 19-7 at ASU and 34-20 in Fresno.
- In 2012, Sacramento State began the year with a loss at New Mexico State before winning at Colorado. That victory made Sacramento State and North Dakota State the only two FCS teams to knock off an FBS opponent in 2011 and 2012.
- The Hornets' only other victories over a Div. I-A/FBS team both came against Pacific. Sacramento State defeated the Tigers, 30-21, in 1988 and 43-40 in 1991.
- Nearly every FBS opponent Sacramento State has faced since 2002 currently plays in the Pac-12 (Oregon State, California, Stanford, Colorado, Washington) or Mountain West (Nevada, Boise State, Fresno State, New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV). The lone exceptions have been New Mexico State in 2012 and Idaho in 2017 who were both members of the Sun Belt Conference at the time.
IT'S UP AND IT'S GOOD
- Kyle Sentkowski single-handedly gave the Hornets a 9-7 halftime lead against UNI as he converted each of his three field goal attempts.
- Sentkowski started his performance with a 40-yard kick midway through the first quarter. He added a 26-yard field goal with 5:57 left in the first half and completed his hat trick with a 32-yarder with only eight seconds left in the half to give the team the lead.
- Sentkowski became the first Hornet kicker to have three field goals in a game since Jaime Medina did it against UC Davis on Nov. 19, 2016.
CAREER GAME FOR WILLIAMS
- Wide receiver Pierre Williams set his career high with nine receptions against UNI which tied Elijah Dotson for the game high. Williams' previous high was eight receptions against Montana on Oct. 19, 2019.
Williams also posted his fifth 100-yard game of his career, finishing with 122 yards against the Panthers. He is now tied for eighth in program history in 100-yard games.
- Williams earned first team all-Big Sky honors following the 2019 season after leading the team with 931 receiving yards. The junior averaged 17.2 yards per reception and tied for the team lead with seven receiving touchdowns.
- Williams joined former All-American Fred Amey as the only two players in school history to have 500 receiving yards as a freshman and sophomore.
- Williams has caught at least one pass in each of his 24 collegiate games which is the longest active streak on the team. He also has a touchdown in a team-leading 10 games and has caught five or passes in nine games.
- The Gustine, Calif., native has also moved onto the Sacramento State top 10 list for career receiving yards and career receiving touchdowns and is in the top 20 for career receptions.
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
6. Jaelin Ratliff (2015-18) 1,749 100
7. Nnamdi Agude (2012-15) 1,712 63
8. Tony Washington (2007-08) 1,693 44
9. Shane Harrison (2012-15) 1,669 20
10. Pierre Williams (2018-pres.) 1,649 ---
Career Receiving Touchdowns Total Needs
8. Mark Young (1986-88) 14 2
T9. Shane Harrison (2012-15) 13 1
T9. Brandyn Reed (2009-11) 13 1
--- Pierre Williams (2018-pres.) 12 ---
Career Receptions Total Needs
11. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 104 7
T12. Jordan Robinson (2013-16) 103 6
T12. Gary Austin, Jr. (1999-02) 103 6
14. Michael Johnson, Jr. (1999-02) 99 2
T20. Pierre Williams (2018-pres.) 97 ---
FINDING THE BRIGHT SPOTS
- Asher O'Hara earned his second start of the season and threw for 338 yards while also leading the team with 55 rushing yards against UNI.
- O'Hara completed 32-of-53 attempts which placed him among the top 10 in school single-game history for both categories. His 32 completions tied him with Kevin Thomson (at Arizona State, 9/6/19) for 10th while his attempts match Thomson's mark against Austin Peay (12/7/19).
- Both marks also set career bests for O'Hara, breaking highs he set while at Middle Tennessee. His previous highs were 31 completions and 47 attempts at UTSA on Sept. 25, 2020. He also threw for 372 yards against the Roadrunners in the game for his career best.
- O'Hara who transferred to Sacramento State during the summer of 2021. He played the last two seasons at Middle Tennessee where he earned second team all-Conference-USA honors in the fall of 2020. With the Blue Raiders, he threw for 4,690 yards with 32 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,744 yards and 17 scores in 23 games.
- Jake Dunniway again saw time at the position as he started the second half. Dunniway was 2-of-4 for 11 yards during his time on the field.
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
- After a record-setting freshman season, it was hard to imagine that tight end Marshel Martin could improve on his numbers during the 2021 season. Martin has a team-high 14 receptions (seven in both games) and ranks second among Hornets with 140 receiving yards. He also accounts for both of the team's touchdown receptions this season, scoring two at Dixie State.
- Martin started the year with seven receptions for 56 yards with touchdowns of 2 and 11 yards at Dixie State. He then had seven grabs for 84 yards against UNI. Dating back to last season, he has six touchdown receptions in the last seven games and nine TDs in the last 12 contests.
- Martin had an incredible freshman season in 2019 where he caught 39 passes for 550 yards with seven touchdowns. He earned second team all-Big Sky honors and was named to the HERO Sports and Phil Steele Freshman All-American teams.
- Martin's seventh touchdown of the year sealed the victory over UC Davis in the Causeway Classic and set the school record for touchdowns by a tight end. The previous mark of six was held by Chris Kelly who did it in 1999. Martin became just the seventh Hornet tight end to have multiple TD catches in a season and caught at least one pass in each of the team's 13 games.
- Heading into the 2021 season, the Vallejo, Calif., native was named to the preseason all-Big Sky team and was a third team preseason All-American by Stats Perform and HERO Sports.
RISING TO THE OCCASION
- Cameron Broussard made the most of his first extensive playing time, recording a team-leading 10 tackles against UNI. The freshman had five solo and five assisted tackles to make up his total. The safety made his collegiate debut at Dixie State but did not record a tackle in that game.
- Broussard graduated from Folsom HS in 2020 where he was a three-star recruit. He played on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs earning all-league honors at wide receiver and defensive back. He signed with the Hornets in the spring of 2020 but remains a true freshman after COVID canceled the 2020 season.
- Broussard joins linebackers Marcus Hawkins (three times) and Jeremy Harris (one time) as the only current members of the team to have double-digit tackles in a Hornet uniform.
SHOWING OFF THE HANDS
- Sacramento State continues to find ways to get the ball into the hands of Elijah Dotson. The running back had seven carries for 38 yards and scored the team's lone touchdown and also caught nine passes for 48 yards against UNI to give him 86 all-purpose yards.
- Dotson has now cemented himself among the top 10 in career rushing yards at Sacramento State and is nearing the top 10 in career receptions. He set the school record for career receptions by a running back against UNI and now has 104 in his career which places him 11th in program history.
- Following a breakout season as a running back and a pass catcher in 2019, Elijah Dotson was named second team FCS All-America by HERO Sports and also brought in his second consecutive first team all-Big Sky selection. Dotson continued to add to his resumé as he was voted to the all-Big Sky preseason team, first team preseason All-American by Stats Perform, third team by HERO Sports and was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List.
- Dotson led the Big Sky in rushing in 2018 with 1,154 yards in 10 games. Following a coaching change, he highlighted his pass catching abilities, leading the team with 70 receptions. Dotson finished the year with 742 rushing yards and 702 receiving yards and combined to score 11 touchdowns.
- The Sacramento native posted three 100-yard rushing games during 2019 including a 175-yard, three touchdown performance against Cal Poly to earn Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week.
- He caught a career high 10 passes at Arizona State and set a career best with 158 receiving yards against Northern Colorado.
- Dotson and Charles Roberts are the only Hornet running backs to earn first team all-Big Sky honors. Roberts did it in 1998, 1999 and 2000 while also being the conference's Offensive Player of the Year in his final two seasons. Dotson was a first team selection in 2018 and 2019.
- Below is where the Antelope HS ranks in the Sacramento State record book:
Career Rushing Yards Total Needs
6. Troy Mills (1990-91) 2,771 330
8. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 2,441 ---
Career Rushing Touchdowns Total Needs
T5. Jordan Robinson (2013-16) 25 3
T5. Troy Mills (1990-91) 25 3
7. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 22 ---
Career All-Purpose Yards Total Needs
5. Troy Mills (1990-91) 4,070 151
6. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 3,919 ---
Career Touchdowns Total Needs
6. Jordan Robinson (2013-16) 30 2
T7. Fred Amey (2001-04) 29 1
T7. Troy Mills (1990-91) 29 1
9. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 28 ---
Career Receptions Total Needs
T7. Nnamdi Agude (2012-15) 112 8
T7. Tony Washington (2007-08) 112 8
T7. Ryan Coogler (2004-05, 07) 112 8
10. Mike Carter (1968-69) 110 6
11. Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 104 ---
Career Receiving Yards Total Needs
T19. Lin Klinkhammer (1985-86) 1,282 208
T19. Carlos Smith (1996-97) 1,282 208
--- Elijah Dotson (2017-pres.) 1,074 ---
- Sacramento State will wear stickers on the back of its helmets this year in memory of former Hornet quarterback and assistant coach Greg Knapp who died on July 22 after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle near his home in San Ramon, Calif.
- Knapp played for the Hornets from 1982-85. He is currently ranked eighth in school history in career passing yards (3,806) and touchdowns (32), 10th in career completions (279), tied for 10th in career pass efficiency (124.1), and 11th in career attempts (524).
- Knapp immediately transitioned to a coaching position with the Hornets, guiding the team's running backs from 1986-88, wide receivers from 1989-90 and then assistant head coach and offensive coordinator from 1991-94.
- His tenure in the NFL began with the San Francisco 49ers as a quality control assistant from 1995-97. He was elevated to quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000 and later served as the OC from 2001-03. Knapp later was the OC with the Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He was the QBs coach with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and New York Jets.
- During his NFL career, Knapp coached quarterbacks to a combined 11 NFL Pro Bowls. He had five different 4,000-yard passers comprised of Steve Young (1998), Jeff Garcia (2000), Carson Palmer (2012), Peyton Manning (2013-14) and Matt Ryan (2018).
- The 2021 roster features five sets of brothers: Elijah and Isaiah Gable; Javion Macias and assistant coach Adrian Gallegos; Asher and Jace O'Hara; Kaden and Kooper Richardson; and Pierre and Xavier Williams.
- Sacramento State will have a reunion tour this season as it will face off against 10 former Hornet assistant coaches. The streak begins in week one with head coach Paul Peterson and offensive line coach John Hughes at Dixie State. Former Hornet player and coach Angus McClure is the offensive line coach at Cal. J.B. Hall is currently the cornerbacks coach at Idaho State. Solomona Tapasa is the linebackers coach at Southern Utah. Sammy Lawanson is the linebackers coach at Northern Arizona. The stretch ends against Cal Poly where Paul Wulff (offensive line), James Montgomery (running backs), Will Plemons (defensive line) and Joey Muscarella (volunteer) all work.
- The Hornets will select an offensive, defensive and special teams captain for each game.
- None of the five quarterbacks on the roster were with the team with Troy Taylor took over the program in the spring of 2019.
- 20 players on the 2021 roster have already earned their bachelor's degree. Six are currently pursuing master's degrees while the remaining 14 are working on a second bachelor's degree.
- Head coach Troy Taylor became the fastest coach in school football history to earn his 10th win. The victory at Dixie State gave Taylor a 10-4 record through 14 games. The previous best was Ray Clemons who needed 22 games before winning his 10th.