#25 Sacramento State FCS Football 2021 Preview

Sacramento State Hornets
Overall Rank: #25
#6 Big Sky
Sacramento State Logo
Sacramento State did not play in 2020 or the spring of 2021. But back in 2019 the Hornets had a great debut season under Coach Troy Taylor. The Hornets won a share of the Big Sky title and earned the #4 seed in the FCS Playoffs. The playoff appearance ended in disappointment and missing a season has resulted in a more inexperienced group, but Sacramento State is still on the rise and should compete for another playoff appearance in 2021.
2020-21 Record: 0-0, 0-0
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Troy Taylor (9-4 at Sacramento State, 9-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Troy Taylor
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Thompson
Returning Leaders: (2019 Stats)
Rushing: Elijah Dotson, RB, 742 yards
Passing: Jake Dunniway, QB, 582 yards
Receiving: Pierre Williams, WR, 931 yards
Tackles: Marcus Hawkins, LB, 81
Sacks: Marcus Hawkins, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: 5 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: RB BJ Perkinson, TE Marshel Martin, WR Isaiah Gable, WR Parker Clayton, LB Jeremy Harris
Key Losses: QB Kevin Thomson, OL Wyatt Ming, DL George Obinna, DL Dariyn Choates, LB Marcus Bruce, DB Caelan Barnes, DB Daron Bland
Kevin Thomson led Sacramento State’s potent passing attack in 2019, but the Hornets will have to find a new signal caller in 2021. Jake Dunniway was Thomson’s backup in 2019 and made eight appearances and one start. In those appearances he threw 72 passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns. Middle Tennessee transfer Asher O’Hara will look to take over the starting duties though. He was a second team All-CUSA honoree in 2020 when he threw 1,960 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 601 yards and seven more scores. The amount of experienced weapons surrounding the quarterback is impressive. Pierre Williams is a great big play receiver and Isaiah Gable and Parker Clayton are also back after productive seasons in 2019. Tight end Marshel Martin had a great freshman season, catching 39 passes for 550 yards and seven touchdowns. Running back Elijah Dotson is the workhorse for the offense. He led the team with an impressive 70 receptions and also carried the ball 151 times. In total he accounted for 11 touchdowns.
The defense has more holes to fill from a group that played quite well in 2019. In the Big Sky the opposition will score some points, but the Hornets were able to limit most opponents and make the occasional big play to turn their fortunes in their favor. Many of the key pieces are gone though. Coach Taylor does have one superstar returning to rebuild his defense around. Linebacker Marcus Hawkins led the Hornets in 2019 with 81 tackles, including 5.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss. Fellow linebacker Jeremy Harris will look to build off a promising freshman campaign, but overall, this is an inexperienced group.
The Bottom Line:
The schedule could be more difficult in the always tough Big Sky. Sacramento State avoids presumed playoff contenders Weber State, Eastern Washington and Montana State. That could prove to be very beneficial for the Hornets as far as their playoff hopes are concerned, but the defense will need to find some new playmakers if they are going to take advantage of the schedule and return to the playoffs.
Projected Postseason:  None
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: na
Passing Offense: na
Total Offense: na
Scoring Offense: na
Rushing Defense: na
Pass Defense: na
Total Defense: na
Scoring Defense: na
Turnover Margin: na
Sacks: na
Sacks Allowed: na