PREVIEW: Sac State football team maintains confidence ahead of Northern Arizona matchup

Kevin Thomson injury status is uncertain, No. 5 Hornets are 2-0 following losses


Eucario Calderon

Sac State sophomore quarterback Jake Dunniway prepares to throw against No. 3 Weber State on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Hornet Stadium. Dunniway will start at quarterback for the No. 5 Hornets this Saturday at Northern Arizona if junior Kevin Thomson is unable to play due to injury.

Mack Ervin III

The Sacramento State football team is looking to move on from last week’s loss to No. 3 Weber State by getting a win Saturday against the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks.

The Hornets slipped to number eight in the STATS and Coaches Polls following Saturday’s loss. However, the team landed at number five in the Football Championship Subdivision playoff committee’s inaugural top 10 rankings.

Northern Arizona is unranked and coming off a 66-38 blowout loss to Eastern Washington University.

One of the biggest storylines following the Hornets’ loss was the injury suffered by junior quarterback Kevin Thomson. Thomson left the game with under two minutes left in the second quarter after being hit while throwing.

RELATED: No. 6 Sac State football team shut down by No. 3 Weber State in 36-17 loss

Sac State head coach Troy Taylor declined to comment on the nature or severity of Thomson’s injury, but the belief among players is that the injury is not long-term and there are no broken bones.

If Thomson is unable to start, the team will start sophomore Jake Dunniway at quarterback, who played in three games this year including the second half against Weber State.

Freshman wide receiver Parker Clayton said the team is fully behind Dunniway at quarterback.

“We have full trust in Jake,” Clayton said. “We’re really excited to see what he can do out there.”

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Coming off their first loss since September, Taylor said his team is focused and committed on the next game.

“(The) gameplan is to refocus our energy and preparation on our next opponent,” Taylor said. “NAU is undefeated when they play at home (and a) really dynamic team. They have the ability to score a lot of points in a quick amount of time. Their team’s resilient, they continue to play. They never stop fighting. That’s always a dangerous team.”

In the two games immediately following the Hornets’ two other losses this season, Sac State is 2-0 and has outscored its opponents 98-27.

RELATED: Sac State football team falls short at Fresno State

Taylor expressed confidence in his team’s ability to bounce back from a tough loss.

“We’re a resilient group,” Taylor said. “You never want to lose a game, but you move on to the next day and get the next opponent. We’re fired up.”

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One area of concern for Sac State is the Lumberjacks’ ability in the passing game, averaging nearly 375 yards and three touchdowns through the air per game.

Sac State senior defensive back Caelan Barnes said the defense will have to focus on this aspect to come out on top.

“They’re a passing team,” Barnes said. “So usually when we stop the pass, we’ll have put ourselves in a good position.”

The Hornets will face Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. Saturday in Flagstaff, Arizona at the J.L. Walkup Skydome.