2016 Big Sky Preview: Sacramento State

2015 Record: 2-9 (1-7)

Key Returners: Jordan Robinson, Nate Ketteringham, Isiah Hennie, Manoah Pearson

Key Losses: Shane Harrison, Brad Cornish

Last year is probably a year the Hornets would like to forget, finishing the season at 2-9, with one of their wins coming against a Division II team. Many of the Hornets losses weren’t even close contests. Needless to say, this was a disappointing season for second year coach Jody Sears. The Hornets went from 7-5 in 2014 to two wins in the following season. What went wrong? For starters the Hornets were breaking in a new quarterback after Garrett Safron graduated. They also had to replace star receiver DeAndre Carter. Needless to say, there were some growing pains in Sacramento. Jody Sears is entering his third season at Sacramento State, so we can’t say that he’s on the hot seat this season, but the Hornets will need to improve upon their two wins from last season to keep the rumblings low. The Hornets appear to be a fairly young team and will be far more experienced this year.

The Hornets weren’t completely inept on offense last season, despite finishing near the bottom of the Big Sky standings. They had the 71st best offense in the country, finishing with 360 yards per game. They cycled through three different quarterbacks last season at various points in the season. The Hornets on defense, however, were not as good. The Hornets finished 108th in total offense, giving up 453 yards per game. You would have to think that the Hornets can improve on that second number this coming season. If they can, the Hornets schedule this season is a nice balance tough and winnable games. The Hornets finished -21 in the touchdown category. The Hornets finished at even in the turnover margin, a good sign for a young football team.

The Hornets will be returning a lot of youth this coming season. They will have two young quarterbacks returning, Nate Ketteringham and Daniel Kniffin. They will also be returning Jordan Robinson, the top rusher from last season who had 808 yards on the ground with four touchdowns. They will lose their top two receivers from last season to graduation. They have a pair of receivers, Isiah Hennie and Jaelin Ratliff who still have a few years left in their eligibility that should contribute for the Hornets this coming season. They also return young linebacker Manoah Pearson who finished with 77 tackles last season and two sacks. He will anchor the defense just as a sophomore.

As mentioned above, the Hornets schedule this season is a mixture of tough teams with games that they could and maybe should win. Their biggest test will be at Fresno State, plus contests against North Dakota, Montana, and Portland State. Those won’t be easy games, but two of them are at home which should provide them a small boost. The Hornets will mix that with Weber State, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, and UC-Davis. With this kind of mixture you have to think the Hornets can improve on that and win some football games. With any luck they can make a run towards .500 for the season. There’s plenty of youth on this team to be hopeful, but it may not happen for the Hornets this season.

Sat. 3     Western Oregon
Sat. 10   at Fresno State
Sat. 17   at Weber State
Sat. 24  at Idaho State
Sat. 1     Montana State
Sat. 8     North Dakota
Sat. 15   at Montana
Sat. 22   at Northern Colorado
Sat. 29   Cal Poly
Sat. 12   Portland State
Sat. 19   at UC Davis

Written by 

I'm a Wyoming native living in Missoula, Montana. I'm the owner of, a fan site for the Wyoming Cowboys. Now that I live in the heart of the Big Sky Conference I write about things that focus on those teams. I watch and read a lot of college football, probably more than is healthy. Hit me up on the Twitters @MrTitleist or @WyoNationDotCom Go Pokes, Go Griz!

Related posts