San Jose State Non-Conference Preview: Sacramento State

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

San Jose State opens its 2013 at home against FCS subdivision Sacramento State Hornets

San Jose State will face Sacramento State at home on Thursday Aug. 29 for 10 p.m. ET and at this time there is no television channel slated to pick this game up.

Coach: Marshall Sperbeck (7th year)

2012 record: 6-5 (4-4 Big Sky)

2012 season in review: 2012 was a year of gradual improvement for Sacramento State. In 2011, they went 4-7 and finished 7th in the Big Sky conference. In 2012, they improved to 6-5, with three of the losses being one possession games and with one of the victories being over the Pac-12 Colorado Buffaloes. Quarterback Garrett Safron and running back Ezekial Graham led a consistent offense that scored an average of 27 points a game. Unfortunately for the Sacramento State Hornets, the defense allowed an average of 28.2 points a game. If the offense can take a step forward in 2013, they will likely be contenders for the Big Sky championship.

Returning Offensive Starters: 9

Returning Defensive Starters: 7

Key Players and Returning Starters: QB Garrett Safron, RB Ezekial Graham, LB Todd Davis, DB Osagie Osiase, P Justin Weldon.

2013 Strengths: In 2012, the Sacramento State defense was able to generate a decent pass rush; garnering 33 sacks over the course of the season. These sacks were spread around, with no one player getting a large majority of the sacks. Look to lead tackler linebacker Todd Davis to cause some havoc in the backfield.

Of course, there's always the nice and generic strength of returning a lot of starters. The Sacramento State Hornets were a good team in 2012, and continuity will help them build towards an even better season.

2013 Weaknesses: One area which needs major improvement is their red-zone offense. Scoring touchdowns only 63% percent when in the red zone will not cut it if they want to be Big Sky champions. Scoring 3 points is good, scoring 7 is better.

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