The last time Sacramento State and Montana State played at Hornets Stadium, the scoreboard operator got a blister from all the button pushing. OK, that's an exaggeration, but he was plenty busy in that 2010 game, in which Montana State lost a 27-point lead but recovered to win 64-61 in overtime.
"Don't know (if) we'll ever see another one like that," Sac State's Marshall Sperbeck said during the weekly Big Sky Conference coaches' teleconference. Sperbeck has the Hornets (6-3, 4-2) in the hunt for a playoff berth, and a win over No. 3 Montana State (7-1, 4-1) Saturday likely would cause the Hornets to start making postseason plans for the first time since 1988, when they played in Division II.
A combined 125 points is unlikely because Montana State is getting healthier. The Bobcats have their entire defensive line back from injury for the first time this season, coach Rob Ash said.
Also, Sac State's defense is playing well. Winners of four of their past five games, the Hornets are led defensively by linebacker Jeff Badger, tackle Matt Lawrence and safety Ryan McMahon all seniors. Each has started 20 or more games and is a four-year player, along with center Clay DePauw.
Thirteen Sac State seniors will be honored before their last home game. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m., and the contest will be televised on ROOT Sports as part of the Big Sky Game of the Week package. Area viewers with a regional cable sports package should be able to see the game.
After not facing a ranked opponent for the first seven weeks of the season, Sac State will meet its third in as many weeks. The Hornets lost at then-No. 1 Eastern Washington 31-28 on Oct. 20 and handed then-No. 11 Cal Poly its first loss of the season, 35-29, Saturday.
Safron doubles up Sophomore quarterback Garrett Safron was chosen as the Big Sky Conference co-Offensive Player of the Week after his 31-of-38, 303-yard performance against Cal Poly. He threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions. It was his second Player of the Week selection this season.
Safron is the team's second-leading rusher with 344 yards and needs six touchdown passes to eclipse Jeff Fleming's season record of 23 in 2010. With 32 completions in the next two games, he would break Ryan Leadingham's season mark of 220 in 2002.
"This is really his first full season playing, and he won the job in the spring," Sperbeck said. "Like any young quarterback, he's had some really good moments and has had some moments where he's learned. He's getting better, and I really like him because he can make plays with his feet, and he's getting better throwing the ball, as well."
UCD suffers power failure UC Davis was battling. The score was 14-14 at halftime Saturday against visiting Portland State. Then the Aggies' power went out. They stumbled through the second half and lost 49-21.
UCD fell to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big Sky with two games remaining after this weekend's bye.
"We didn't play our best game, and that's (in) no way a discredit to how well Portland State played because they really took it to us physically," coach Bob Biggs said.
"(The bye) gave us a chance this week to reflect on why we didn't play with the same energy and physical play that we have been all year. The great thing is it wasn't just me (who noticed). The players recognized it themselves."
The loss means the fourth losing record, and second straight, in Biggs' 20th and last season as head coach at UCD. All four losing seasons have come since the Aggies moved to the Football Championship Subdivision in 2007.
The Aggies will visit Eastern Washington on Nov. 10 and end the season Nov. 17 at home against Sac State in the annual Causeway Classic.
"We are looking at Eastern Washington, but we're also looking at getting back to the fundamentals that a football team that's going to win has to get back to," Biggs said.