The Curt Locker: Football all buzz, no bite in 2013

Curtis Manlapig

Almost is a word that should never be said when it comes to sports because it implies coming so close, yet not obtaining the goal. To say the Sacramento State football team almost won games they should have is unacceptable; the Hornets blew opportunities to win more games than it did.  

Sac State finished with a 5-7 overall record and 4-4 in the Big Sky Conference good for eighth in the standings. Three of the team’s losses were by a combined seven points. That was the difference between five spots in the Big Sky standings.

The problem this team had was finishing games off. Sac State had leads of eight, 17 and seven in the second half of losses against Southern Utah, Northern Arizona and Montana respectively.

It wasn’t all bad endings for the Hornets as it went score for score with Portland State on the road in a 43-42 victory. Sac State scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives, four of which came in the third quarter.

Although the team did not have a season to remember, the talent was there.

The Hornets had 10 players make an all-Big Sky Conference team, three of which were first team players – junior wide receiver DeAndre Carter and seniors, offensive guard Tyler Worthley and linebacker Todd Davis.

Davis led the Big Sky in tackles with 131. Carter tied for second in the Big Sky with 14 touchdown catches.

Junior quarterback Garrett Safron became a star this season. Safron was named to the second team as he was 294-460 for 3,289 yards and 27 touchdowns, all breaking Sac State single season records.

The dual-threat quarterback was electrifying leading the offense to scoring 30.2 points per game in conference play. While the Hornets were an offensive juggernaut, it had a glaring weakness on the defensive side.

Besides Davis being a tackling machine, the defense had a problem against both the run and the pass. Often times, the defensive backs would seem to be playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage and opposing wide receivers would take advantage of this by running underneath routes turning them into long gains.

The defense gave up an average of 446.9 yards per game while giving up 33.2 points. The Hornet defense ranked tenth in the Big Sky at stopping the run. It gave up 187.3 yards per game.

The worst performance for the defense came against Portland State in which the Hornets gave up a season high 713 total yards, 382 of which was rushing.

If head coach Marshall Sperbeck wants to have a successful 2014 season, he is going to have to fix how the defense plays. The Hornets graduate five starters on defense, including Davis, and will need players like freshman Russell Smith and sophomore Darnell Sankey to lead.

Sac State has promise heading into next year bringing back offensive stars like Safron and Carter, but it will need to be a complete team that plays complete games if it wants any chance at the postseason.