PREVIEW: Sac State football team seeks upset at Fresno State

In two home wins, Hornets have outscored opponents 127-19


Eucario Calderon

Sac State junior quarterback Kevin Thomson rushes for a first down against Northern Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Hornet Stadium. The Hornets play on the road this Saturday at Fresno State.

Michael Wiggins

Following a 50-point shutout victory, the Sacramento State football team will attempt to pick up their first road win of the season Saturday at California State University, Fresno.

The win against the University of Northern Colorado last Saturday moved the Hornets to 2-1 for the season. 

The Sac State offense produced over 600 total yards and scored seven touchdowns in the rout. The Hornets’ stout defense held the Bears’ offense to just 171 total yards.  

The Hornets, a Football Championship Subdivision team, were last on the road Sept. 6, when they traveled to play Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Arizona State University. In a game in which they were heavy 35-point underdogs, Sac State put on an impressive performance and fell just short of the Sun Devils with a final score of 19-7.  

This week’s foe is also a FBS opponent. Fresno State (0-2) has lost two close games and are desperate for their first win of the season. The Bulldogs lost to the University of Southern California Aug. 31 by a score of 31-23 before losing to the University of Minnesota at home 38-35 Sept. 7. 

Fresno State will be rested when they host the Hornets Saturday as they are coming off a bye.

“They’re a tremendous team,” Sac State head coach Troy Taylor said about the Bulldogs. “They had two great opponents and played them both tough. They’re hungry for a win, are very well-coached and they are playing at home so it will be a great challenge for us.”

The Hornet defense will have their hands full Saturday night. Sac State, who have given up a total of 38 points this season, will have to slow down a Bulldogs offense that’s averaging 29 points-per-game this season. 

“They’ve got a great quarterback, great running back, big offensive line and some good receivers so it’ll be a challenge,” Taylor said.

Senior defensive back Marcus Bruce, who scored the team’s lone sack in last week’s home win, said it’s important for the defense to get off to a fast start and be locked in from kickoff.

“The coaches have come up with an amazing game-plan,” Bruce said. “They have an amazing team, they got a lot of great athletes, a lot of guys that can make things happen. But at the end of the day, we just have to trust our coaches.”

Sac State’s offense will look to carry its momentum into Bulldog Stadium and accomplish a feat the team has not yet done this season.

Winning at Fresno State will be no easy task. Fresno head coach Jeff Tedford has led his Bulldogs to an 11-2 record at home and a 22-8 overall record in three seasons. In three prior meetings against Fresno State, the Hornets have not scored more than seven points in any game and have lost all three games against the Bulldogs. 

“Fresno State has a tremendous football program,” Taylor said. “They’ve been a good football team and obviously this is our first time against them (since 2016) so we’re excited to play.”

Taylor, who is in his first season as head coach at Sac State, will be looking for his first road victory as head coach of the Hornets as well. 

Sac State will take on Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m.