Hornets ready to show resilience after home opener loss

Brandon bailey

The Hornets will face Cal for the first time since 2014 on Saturday, September 18, 2021. It will be their third meeting in school history; Cal leads the series against the Hornet 2-0. Graphic made in Canva by Brandon Bailey.

The Sacramento State football team is back on the road this week, following a 34-16 loss in its home opener to the University of Northern Iowa. The Hornets are preparing for their last non-conference game of the season against the University of California at Berkeley on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

Cal enters this game against the Hornets 0-2 to start their season after suffering back-to-back losses to the University of Nevada and Texas Christian University.

Despite losing their first two games, head coach Troy Taylor believes the Golden Bears are a good team and have a chance to compete for a Pac-12 North title. One of the main differences between the Hornets and the Golden Bears is their divisions. They both belong to Division 1, but Cal is a Subdivision Bowl Football team and Sacramento State is a Subdivision Championship Football team.

Coach Taylor said the difference is the depth between the FBS and FCS schools. FBS schools are allowed to have 85 scholarship athletes each year, while FCS schools like Sac State are allowed to award 63 scholarships per year.

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Hornet running back BJ Perkinson (21) crosses the hole as he tries to escape Dixie State defenders. Perkinson led Sac State on the ground with 75 yards on eight carries on Saturday, September 4, 2021.
(Emily Wight)

“When you have more players, you have more opportunities to have bigger, faster and stronger guys,” Taylor said.

It won’t be the first time the Hornets and Golden Bears have gone head-to-head. In their two previous clashes, dating back to 2005 and 2014, the Hornets have lost both games to the Golden Bears in a resounding fashion.

These two Cal teams had players who were going to be drafted into the NFL. Their 2005 squad alone consisted of Marshawn Lynch, Desean Jackson and Justin Forsett. In 2014, they faced former NFL Draft First Pick and current Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff.

For Sac State to defeat the Golden Bears for the first time, Taylor said they will have to respond as a unit.

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Cal’s cornerback lines up against the Washington state receiver ahead of the snap. This will be the third game against the Golden Bears in school history this Saturday, September 18, 2021. (Sunny Shen)

True first-year linebacker Cameron Broussard made 10 tackles on his night out against UNI, and said the key for the Hornets responding this week against the Golden Bears will be their tackling ability.

“We have to keep playing hard and getting the guys down, that will be important for us,” Cameron said. “Obviously we were getting people to the ground (last week), but heading into the third trimester we were pretty relaxed.”

The Golden Bears are led by their senior starting quarterback Chase Garbers, who currently leads Cal in all career passing categories. Taylor said it wouldn’t be easy to stop Garbers due to his experience as a starter.

“It’s a challenge because he’s got so much experience, he’s an older guy and he’s been around for a while, so he’s seen a lot,” Taylor said. “He’s precise, played really well last week, and it’s harder to pick on guys like that, probably because of their experience.

Taylor said the key to slowing Garbers and his offense will be to stop the run, put pressure on the quarterback and put him in a third and long situation.

One of the Hornets’ starting cornerbacks Munchie Filer said to stop a balanced attack this week against Cal they need to be prepared to play hard and let their preparation guide them to victory. In their first two games, the Golden Bears were two-dimensional on offense, averaging 143 rushing yards and 243 passing yards per game.

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Sacramento State second-year wide receiver Parker Clayton wins the course and trips Dixie State cornerback. The Hornets defeated Dixie State 19-7 on Saturday, September 4, 2021.
(Emily Wight)

In their match last week against UNI, Filer said their lack of ability to finish the game after a strong first half was the difference that led them to give up four touchdowns in a quarter.

“The difference is, we just aren’t done,” Filer said. “Honestly, that was the only difference, and they kept fighting.”

Filer said that in order to stop Cal’s balanced offensive attack this week, they have to be prepared to play hard.

After losing their home opener, the Hornets hope to respond with a win over Cal and move up to 2-1 this season while continuing their path to a Big Sky title.

The Hornets will play at 1 p.m. at FTX Field on Saturday, September 18 in Berkeley, Calif.


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