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Kelly Kiernan

Sac State quarterback wins ‘Best Male Athlete’ following historic 2019 season

Kevin Thomson named Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year

With 6:47 remaining in the second quarter of the 66th Causeway Classic, Sacramento State quarterback Kevin Thomson threw a pick six, allowing rival University of California, Davis to take a commanding 17-3 lead in a game the Hornets needed to win to earn a share of the Big Sky Conference Championship.

Thomson responded to the adversity well, leading the Hornets to score 24 unanswered points, capped off by a 33-yard dash down the left sideline to the end zone from the junior quarterback with three minutes remaining to seal a 27-17 victory over the Aggies.

Sac State clinched its first Big Sky title in program history with the win, sharing the honor with Weber State University. Thomson was also named conference Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Hornets to nine wins and their first trip to the FCS Playoffs.

Following the historic 2019 season, Thomson was voted “Best Male Athlete” in The State Hornet’s annual Best of Sac State awards.

“It’s a super cool honor to be recognized as (Best Male Athlete),” Thomson said. “We have a lot of great athletes at our school, so to be recognized this year is great. It’s really a testament to everyone in the football program because I feel like I’m only as good as the guys that I’m surrounded by.”

Thomson has now played three seasons at Sac State. Before becoming a Hornet, he spent two seasons on the sidelines at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Thomson played his junior and senior seasons at Sac State in 2017 and 2018.

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However, due to past injuries causing him to miss several games, Thomson was granted two extra years of eligibility by the NCAA prior to 2019, allowing him to return to Sac State. 

Thomson’s return provided first-year head coach Troy Taylor with an experienced quarterback to build his offense around.

“Kevin was outstanding for us,” Taylor said. “(He) was a huge part of our turnaround. Not just his ability, but his leadership, consistency and mental toughness. He’s a guy that represents our program and university very well. Just a fearless competitor and very deserving.”

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In 2019, Thomson improved in nearly every statistical category, surpassing his first two seasons at Sac State combined.

Thomson completed 265 passes in 2019, 89 more than in 2017 and 2018 (176). He passed for 3,216 yards last season, eight more than in his first two seasons (3,208) at Sac State. Finally, Thomson threw 27 touchdowns in 2019, two more than in 2017 and 2018 combined (25).

“He leads by example a lot,” said sophomore wide receiver Tao McClinton. “Making the right choices at the right time. Showing the other guys what the best way to do things is. He’s really passionate about the game, a vocal guy. He’s a great leader overall.”

RELATED: Transfer quarterback makes Sac State history after surgery

In Taylor’s offensive scheme in 2019, Thomson thrived displaying his dual-threat abilities. The junior quarterback rushed 127 times for 619 yards and 12 touchdowns, continuing to display his progression.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty regarding fall sports being played in 2020, following all spring sports seasons being canceled in March. 

The circumstance has created a unique opportunity for Thomson and his teammates when it comes to preparing to defend their Big Sky title come next season.

“We’re just trying to stay in touch as much as possible,” Thomson said. “This is a really good opportunity to work on the mental side of the game and watch tons of film to get better that way. It’s been a challenge but I think it’s gonna show how mature we are as a team when we all get back together. Hopefully, we’re just rolling like nothing happened.”

Thomson and the Hornets are scheduled to kick off the 2020 season Sept. 5 at San Diego State University.

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