PREVIEW: No. 7 Sac State football team prepares for Cal Poly’s triple-option offense

Hornets have beaten the Mustangs only once since 2013


Eucario Calderon

Members of the Sac State offense walk off the field against Montana Saturday, Oct. 19 at Hornet Stadium. The Hornets play at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Saturday night.

Mack Ervin III

After the Hornets’ dominant win against the University of Montana Saturday, the Sacramento State football team prepares for this week’s matchup against California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

The Hornets vaulted up the national rankings after Saturday’s 49-22 win, landing eighth in the Coaches Poll and seventh in the STATS Poll, the highest ranking in school history since Sac State entered the Football Championship Subdivision in 1993 according to Hornet Athletics. Sac State is currently tied for first place in Big Sky with No. 4 Weber State, which has an identical record of 5-2.

RELATED: No. 15 Sac State football team dominates No. 5 Montana 49-22

Cal Poly is one of the few teams left in college football that run a triple-option offense, a play style mainly used by Army and Navy in recent years. The style gives quarterbacks the option to hand the ball to the fullback or the halfback during a rushing play.

Sac State has only one win in its last six matchups against Cal Poly.

Sac State head coach Troy Taylor described the Mustang offense as “hell-on-wheels” after the Montana game and elaborated on how dangerous their execution of the triple-option is.

“They run it really well (and) they’re very disciplined,” Taylor said. “They’ve been doing it for a while so they know all the answers to different looks you can give them. They’ve seen everything that you could possibly throw at them.”

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With only a week to prepare for a team with such a unique offensive scheme, Taylor said the Hornets need to be focused and disciplined.

“They’re going to challenge every aspect of your defense,” Taylor said. “If you’re not sound, they can make it look pretty ugly in a hurry. (We need to) just be sound and disciplined, and then you got to tackle. You can’t miss a tackle against those guys.”

The Mustangs have lost five of their last six games, but three of those games were decided by single digits. Sac State Junior quarterback Kevin Thomson said that the Mustangs can’t be counted out based on record alone.

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“Losing five of the last six doesn’t really describe that team,” Thomson said. “They’ve been in several of those games and they’ve competed really well. We never underestimate our opponent. We prepare for everyone the same way.”

Thomson said that while he isn’t thinking too much about the triple-option offense, Sac State has to make sure they stay on their toes during the game.

“When their offense is efficient, they eat up clock,” Thomson said. “When we’re out there, we just got to make sure that we’re efficient, and execute at a high level as we have been (doing).”

With the Hornets so high in the rankings, junior defensive back Daron Bland said is trying to block out the outside pressure.

“We’re not worried about what the teams are thinking about us,” Bland said. “We’re just trying to make a name for ourselves.”

The Hornets take on Cal Poly at 5:05 p.m. Saturday at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.