Hornets hope to bounce back at Weber State

Jeremiah Martinez

After a 49-0 loss to the University of Washington on Sept. 12, Sacramento State football looks to rebound against Weber State University this Saturday.

The Hornets enter the matchup with a 1-1 record and will head on the road for the second straight week.

Even though Weber State (0-2) participates in the Big Sky Conference, the game will not count toward the standings; but it will be the first Football Subdivision game for Sac State this season.

Saturday’s game will unofficially start the Hornets’ Big Sky season, which has the Hornets preparing for Weber State as a conference game.

“We’re preparing the same, week-by-week,” freshman defensive back Joey Banks said. “I’m excited to play Weber State and I know a couple of guys on their team, so it’s just going to be an exciting game for me and the defense.”

It will be the second time Hornets’ coach Jody Sears will face the Wildcats since he was fired from the same position at Weber State in 2013.

Sears said he doesn’t want to make the game personal and wants to keep his focus on the team’s preparation this week.

“I loved my time there,” Sears said. “There’s no personal motivation coming in this game for me because Weber State was extremely kind to me. They gave me an opportunity when I didn’t have one, and things worked out the way it did and that’s the way the coaching profession goes.”

During his tenure at Weber State, Sears went 4-19 in 2012-13 before leading Sac State to a 7-5 record in 2014.

“When you start talking [about] personal motivation…in a team environment, it never bodes very well,” Sears said. “We’re going to keep the focus on us…our attitude and our energy and our effort and it really comes down to our execution level and the consistency of that is really where the focus is going to be and that’s where it’s got to be every week.”

After a solid collegiate debut for Sac State quarterback Daniel Kniffin on Sept. 5, the redshirt sophomore and the Hornets’ offense struggled against Washington’s defense, being outgained 544-212 last Saturday.

During the loss, Kniffin received a left hand injury during the fourth quarter, leaving a bruise from a helmet shot.

Despite the injury, Kniffin is expected back to start for the Hornets on Saturday.

Kniffin said this week is a good time for the offense to get back on track, especially against a Big Sky opponent in a non-conference game.

“We just have to come out and play our game,” Kniffin said. “We don’t have to worry about them, we are our own biggest enemy right now, so if we just come out and play our game, there’s going to be no problem.”

Linebacker Darnell Sankey said coming off a loss left a “bad taste in the mouth” for the defense, but the unit has a next-game mentality.

“You can’t just dwell on it,” Sankey said. “They were a better team that day and we’ll come out Saturday against Weber and perform.”

The Hornets will look to improve their FCS winning streak to four, after winning three straight games to end the 2013 season.

Last season, Sac State defeated Weber State 42-31 at Hornet Stadium, which was also played as a non-conference game.

In 2013, the Hornets were victorious 31-3 against Weber State in a road matchup, which featured a Wildcats team coached by Sears.

Saturday’s matchup is slated for a 5:05 p.m. kickoff.