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|Sacramento State Hornets|
|Athletic director||Mark Orr|
|Head coach||Troy Taylor |
2nd season, 9–4 (.692)
|Field surface||Natural grass (1969–2009)|
|NCAA division||Division I FCS|
|Past conferences||NCAC (1954–1984)|
|All-time record||290–391–8 (.427)|
|Bowl record||0–2 (.000)|
|Playoff record||Div. I FCS: 0-1|
|Rivalries||UC Davis (rivalry)|
|Colors||Green and Gold|
|Fight song||Fight, Hornet, Fight!|
|Mascot||Herky the Hornet|
|Marching band||Sacramento State Marching Band|
The Sacramento State Hornets football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the California State University, Sacramento located in Sacramento, California. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Big Sky Conference. The school's first football team was fielded in 1954. The team plays its home games at the 21,195 seat Hornet Stadium.
In 1954, Dave Strong was named the first football coach for the Hornets football program. The program's first victory came in their second season, in 1955, when the Hornets defeated Southern Oregon by a point. Sacramento State was first affiliated with the Northern California Athletic Conference, from 1954 through 1984; the conference was known as the Far Western Conference until 1982. The Hornets were then members of the Western Football Conference from 1985 through 1992. In 1993, Sacramento State move the American West Conference, and then to the Big Sky Conference in 1996. Hornet Stadium has been home to the football team since 1969.
Past success and notable games
The Sacramento State Hornets football team were ranked for the first time ever in school history at the end of the 2019 season when they placed No. 3 nationally in both the STATS FCS Top 25 poll and the FCS Coaches poll as part of the 2019 NCAA Division I FCS football rankings. Sacramento State was also ranked as the No. 4 team in the 2019 NCAA Division I Football FCS Football Official Bracket, receiving a first-week bye in their road to the finals. The 2019 season was a major milestone in the teams' history as the season brought Sacramento State its first-ever Big Sky Conference Championship, its fifth conference title overall, and its first-ever appearance in the FCS Football Championship playoff series. Prior to the 2019 season, Sacramento State was never ranked at the end of any season but had won four conference titles.
The Hornets have participated in two bowl games, the Pasadena Bowl in 1968 against Grambling State, where the Hornets lost, 34–7, and the Camellia Bowl in 1964, where Montana State defeated the Hornets, 28–7.
One of Sac State's most notable wins came on September 3, 2011 in the season opener against the Oregon State Beavers of the Pac-12 Conference at Reser Stadium. The Hornets upset the Beavers in overtime, 29–28 with a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Jeff Flemming to wide receiver Brandyn Reed, beating an AQ conference team for the first time in school history in front of an announced crowd of 41,581. The Beavers were a 23-point favorite coming into the game. Four weeks after the win over Oregon State, the Hornets defeated FCS national power Montana, the program's first win ever over the Grizzlies, on September 24, 2011. Hornets defeated the then No. 10 ranked Grizzlies by a score of 42–28 in Hornet Stadium.
On September 8, 2012, Sac State defeated Colorado Buffaloes of the Pac-12 conference, at Folsom Field as 20-point underdogs. Colorado jumped to an early 14–0 start but the Hornets quickly answered back with a pair of touchdown passes from Hornets quarterback Garrett Safron and a 2-yard rushing touchdown by A.J. Ellis to lead 21–14 over the Buffaloes. Sac State led 24–21 during intermission. With less than a minute left in the fourth quarter and down 28–27, Hornet's walk-on kicker, Edgar Castenada, made the 31-yard field goal winning kick for a final score of 30–28. After the game, Hornets head coach Marshall Sperbeck announced in the locker room that Sacramento State has offered Castendada a scholarship. This marked a consecutive year in which Sac State faced an AQ conference school (both in the Pac-12 conference) as heavy underdogs on the road and walked out with victories.
On November 23, 2019, the Sacramento State football team clinched the schools' first-ever share of the Big Sky Conference Championship in a 27–17 victory over the UC Davis Aggies football team in the 2019 Causeway Classic game under the leadership of 1st season head coach Troy Taylor. This win served as Sacramento States' first Big Sky Conference Championship win since the team's induction into the Big Sky Conference in 1996.
- 1954–1955: No classification
- 1956–1972: NCAA College Division
- 1973���1992: NCAA Division II
- 1993–present: NCAA Division I-AA/FCS
- Northern California Athletic Conference (1954–1984)
- Western Football Conference (1985–1992)
- American West Conference (1993–1995)
- Big Sky Conference (1996–present)
|1964||Northern California Athletic Conference||Ray Clemons||8–2–1|
|1966||Northern California Athletic Conference||Ray Clemons||8–2|
|1986||Western Football Conference||Bob Mattos||6–4–1|
|1995||American West Football Conference||John Volek||4–6–1|
|2019||Big Sky Conference||Troy Taylor||9–3|
The Hornets have made one appearance in the FCS Playoffs. Their record is 0–1.
|2019||Second Round||Austin Peay||L 28–42|
|1964||Camellia Bowl||Montana State||L 7–28|
|1968||Pasadena Bowl||Grambling State||L 7–34|
Sacramento State plays the rival UC Davis Aggies, annually and usually the last game of the regular season. This rivalry game is known as The Causeway Classic, and each team competes for the Causeway Carriage, referring to the fact that the schools are connected by the long Yolo Causeway bridge over Yolo Bypass flood way. UC Davis leads the series 46–21. This game has drawn crowds up to 18,000 in the Hornet Stadium, and is widely popular in the local area. Other notable rivalries includes Cal Poly Mustangs, Portland State, Eastern Washington, Weber State, the Montana schools and Big Sky conference foes.
Past Hornets in the NFL
- Otis Amey, San Francisco 49ers (2005)
- McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Minnesota Vikings & San Francisco 49ers (2011–present)
- Mike Carter, Green Bay Packers (1970–1972)
- Tony Corbin, San Diego Chargers (1997)
- John Gesek, Los Angeles Raiders (1987–1995)
- Jon Kirksey, New Orleans Saints (1996)
- Lorenzo Lynch, Chicago Bears (1987–1997)
- Ken O'Brien, New York Jets (1984–1993)
- Lonie Paxton, Denver Broncos (2000–2011)
- Kato Serwanga, New England Patriots (1998–2003)
- Wasswa Serwanga, San Francisco 49ers (1999–2001)
- Daimon Shelton, Jacksonville Jaguars (1997–2006)
Notable former players
Most notable alumni include:
- Jason Barnes
- Clancy Barone
- DeAndre Carter
- Ryan Coogler
- Todd Davis
- Bobby Fresques
- Aaron Garcia
- John Gesek
- Chris Kelly 1999 All-American TE
- Lorenzo Lynch
- Jon Osterhout 1999 All-American Guard
- Ricky Ray
- Charles Roberts
- Daimon Shelton
- Sacramento State Brand Book (PDF). Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- "Sacramento State Football Record Book" (PDF). HornetSports.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Contreras, Victor (September 10, 2012). "Leading Off: Sac State's upset will mean nothing with a loss". www.sacbee.com. The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012.
- Stapleton, Arnie (September 8, 2012). "Sacramento State upsets Colorado 30–28 on late FG". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved January 26, 2015.