Sac State to take on UC Davis in 60th Causeway Classic

Joe Davis

In the 60th edition of the Causeway Classic, Sacramento State will look to snap a three-game losing skid against rival UC Davis.

Overall, the Aggies have dominated the regular season series 42-17, dating back to 1954.

The Hornets come into the game riding its high-flying passing attack led by junior quarterback Garrett Safron who is coming off a 554-yards passing performance in a comeback win against Portland State.

Safron, the three time Root Sports Big Sky Player of the Week in 2013, has 27 touchdowns on the season and now owns the Sac State career mark for passing touchdowns with 52.

“Garrett is playing lights out right now, it’s the best way to explain it,” said Aaron Ingram, Sac State running backs coach. “He’s had a couple bumps in the road, but not too many. Every game is a learning process, but he is just so mature. Any time you throw for 500 something yards, that’s unheard of – it’s ungodly.”

In the rivalry meetings, Safron has picked up 718-total yards, including a 107-yard rushing performance in 2011 and he also threw for 324 in 2012. In his career against Davis, Safron has accounted for three touchdown and two interceptions.

Helping lead the charge for the Hornets are wide receivers Morris Norrise and DeAndre Carter.

On the season, Norrise is averaging more than 10-yards per catch and he leads the team with 75 receptions. The senior is second on the team with 769-yards receiving.  In two career games against Davis, Norrise has 120 yards through the air on 11 receptions.

The breakout star of the Sac State receiving lineup is DeAndre Carter, the junior from San Jose.

Carter has 934-yards receiving and if he stays on pace with his 89-yard per game, he will become only the fifth Hornet wide out to surpass 1,000 yards in a single season.

2013 has seen Carter’s name get added to the records more than once already. He stands atop the record book with five touchdown catches in a single game against Southern Oregon and he is currently tied for first in touchdown grabs in a season with 14.

“We’re just getting ready for a game like it’s any other game,” Carter said. “The rivalry is kind of more for the fans. “We hate Davis just as much as they do, but we have take it just like any other team – go out there and get the ‘W.’”

In the 59th Causeway Classic, Carter was held to five catches and only 26 yards. He did however have a catch that in a replay he appeared to, but it was ruled a drop in a game the Hornets would eventually lose 34-27.

Sac State heads into the game 4-3 in conference with two of those losses coming by a combined four points. A victory versus Davis would assure a winning record in the Big Sky for the first time since 2010 and for only the second time since head coach Marshall Sperbeck took over in 2007. Beating Davis will also even the Hornets up at 6-6 on the season.

Even with a potent passing offense, the Hornets will be facing the stingiest pass defenses in the Big Sky. In 11 games, Davis has given a conference low 196.4-yards per game while only surrendering 12 touchdowns through the air, which is also a Big Sky best.

“On defense they are playing really tough,” Ingram said. “They have to the top pass defense in the conference right now. Something’s got to give, whether it’s the top pass defense or the gaudy numbers we’ve been putting up.”

On offensive side of the ball, senior quarterback Randy Wright will be making his fourth Causeway Classic start for Davis. Since 2012, Wright has only put up 485 yards through the air with three touchdown passes and three interceptions – but – he has led the Aggies to a 3-0 record in his tenure.

“[Wright] is going to want to go out on top,” Ingram said. “He’s a Northern California kid playing on the biggest stage we have, which is the Causeway (Classic). You never know.”

Even with the playoffs out of reach for both teams, Ingram said fans should not anticipate a let by either team.

“This game can create cultural legends,” Ingram said. “Any rivalry when you look at history whether it be USC-UCLA, Cal-Stanford, Harvard-Yale, Texas-Oklahoma or Sac State-Davis, there is always someone that rises up in these games, plays outstanding and becomes an urban legend.”