PREVIEW: Sac State football team poised to bounce back after close loss

Hornets match up with struggling Northern Colorado defense


Mack Ervin III

Junior quarterback Kevin Thomson hands the ball off to junior running back Elijah Dotson during practice at Sac State on Sep. 10. The Hornets host Northern Colorado in their third game of the season Saturday.

Mack Ervin III

Coming off of a close 19-7 loss against Arizona State last Friday, the Sacramento State football team turns its attention towards this week’s opponents Northern Colorado University.

The Hornets were 35-point underdogs heading into last Friday’s game. However, Sac State’s defense was able to hold the Sun Devils to three field goals through the first three quarters before conceding a 72-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that ultimately sealed the game.

RELATED: Sac State football team shows promise in loss at Arizona State

Junior linebacker Marcus Hawkins, who led the team with seven tackles, said that the Hornets were not fazed by outside projections and just played their own game.

“People will say what they want,” Hawkins said. “But we came out and punched them in the mouth. We wanted to set the tone on defense for sure.”

Hawkins went on to state that he felt the Hornets defense shined despite the eventual loss.

“We knew we had a really good defense. We wanted to show the rest of the nation what we could do and that’s what it came down to,” he said. “We didn’t win the game, but we played really well.”

Head coach Troy Taylor said that there were good elements to take from the game.

“Lots of positives,” Taylor said. “Our guys continue to show their resiliency, their competitiveness. We didn’t play perfect, we can definitely play better, but we had a chance to win at the end and learned a lot about ourselves. We’re ready to move on to next week.”

This week, the Hornets face the University of Northern Colorado Bears, a Big Sky Conference rival. However, this game will not be classified as a conference matchup.

Mack Ervin III – The State Hornet
Members of the Sacramento State football team line up before a snap during practice on Sep. 10. The Hornets play Northern Colorado at home Saturday.

Taylor said there were several things Sac State will have to look out for in the opposing team.

“They’ve got good players,” Taylor said. “They got a good running back, good quarterback and the wide receivers are solid. Defensively, they play hard (and) give you a lot of different looks. It’s a worthy opponent and I know they’re hungry to come in here and get after us.”

The Bears are 0-2 in the season after losing to San Jose State University and #22 ranked Washington State University. Northern Colorado’s defense gave up 94 points and 976 total yards across both games.

RELATED: Hornets break scoring record in 77-19 rout of Southern Oregon

Junior quarterback Kevin Thomson said that watching game film on their opponents would give them an insight on what to expect come Saturday night.

“You watch a lot of film, you really try to game plan, put plays together that you think are going to work against certain looks and hope you get those looks,” Thomson said.

Thomson added that the team has to treat every play seriously and not take anything for granted.

“It really just comes down to executing the game plan,” Thomson said. “Taking every play seriously and treating every play like it has a chance to go to the house. If we do that, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Sac State hosts Northern Colorado on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.