College Sports

Local college notes: Sac State quarterback Nate Ketteringham creates buzz

Sacramento State true freshman quarterback Nate Ketteringham goes through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 22, in Sacramento.
Sacramento State true freshman quarterback Nate Ketteringham goes through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 22, in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

In just his second start and first at home, Sacramento State freshman Nate Ketteringham threw four touchdown passes to lead the Hornets to a 38-13 win over Idaho State last Saturday.

It snapped a six-game losing streak for the Hornets (2-6, 1-4) and gave disillusioned fans a glimmer of hope that the future isn’t so bleak.

The last Sac State quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a game was Garrett Safron in the Hornets’ Causeway Classic victory over UC Davis last year. It was Safron’s last game of a record-shattering four-year Sac State career. As Safron did so many times, Ketteringham used his arm, feet and cunning to account for 338 yards against Idaho State.

4 Touchdown passes by Sac State freshman Nate Ketteringham against Idaho State

While coaches and teammates don’t want to put added pressure on Ketteringham, they see some similarities between the quarterbacks.

“It’s kind of hard to compare the two,” said senior wide receiver Shane Harrison, who had career highs of 159 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Idaho State. “I played with Garrett for three years. I’ve only played with Nate for two games.

“But they’re not afraid to take shots. That’s what I like about Nate. He’s not afraid to throw it up to us, and he has the confidence that we are going to make the play for him. He plays with great heart.”

Sears said Ketteringham has poise, moxie, football smarts and a running ability that give the Hornets an extra dimension, attributes the coach often used to describe Safron.

The Hornets have a bye this weekend, and Sears said he will use the time to give Ketteringham extra work.

“We’re going to give him a year’s worth of reps in three or four practices,” Sears said of the 18-year-old he had hoped to redshirt before his first three quarterbacks were injured.

Sears said it was “good for the kids to have some success” entering the bye week before the Hornets visit Cal Poly on Nov. 7.

Despite possible damage to Sac State’s momentum, Sears also welcomes the time off to help some of his players heal. Thirty Hornets didn’t suit up against Idaho State, many because of injuries. Defensive backs Nick Payne and Josh Armstrong and tight ends Jacob Bowman and John McGill should be back for Cal Poly.

The victory over Idaho State wasn’t the only success for Sac State during Saturday’s homecoming. The women’s volleyball team swept Montana (25-14, 25-18, 25-20), and the men’s soccer team beat UC Davis 1-0 in a Causeway Cup match. The three games drew a combined announced home attendance of more than 10,000 as rumors swirled about a big donation to help build an events center. The $750,000 donation was announced Tuesday.

Scott back with Aggies – UC Davis had a scare Saturday when Southern Utah star defensive end James Cowser tackled Aggies quarterback Ben Scott early in the fourth quarter of the Thunderbirds’ 34-6 win at Aggie Stadium.

Scott appeared to hit his head on the turf and was down for 10 minutes before being placed in a brace, wheeled off the field and taken to a hospital. But the junior rejoined his teammates this week and will have some time to heal with the Aggies also on a bye week. UCD (1-7, 1-4) next plays at Weber State on Nov. 7.

Quarterbacks seem particularly injury-prone in the Big Sky Conference this season.

Scott suffered an injury for the second week in a row. The former Vanden High School standout had to leave the game because of shoulder and neck woes after taking a hit at Northern Colorado. He was replaced in both games by redshirt freshman C.J. Spencer.

Quarterbacks seem particularly injury-prone in the Big Sky Conference this season. Montana joined Sac State in starting its third quarterback of the season when redshirt sophomore Makenna Simis made his first start and tied a school record with six touchdown passes in a 42-16 win over North Dakota. Simis replaced junior Chad Chalich (foot), who had replaced junior Brady Gustafson (leg).

Idaho State redshirt freshman Tanner Gueller made his first career start in place of junior Michael Sanders (leg) against Sac State. And Cal Poly freshman Khaleel Jenkins got his first start, replacing senior Chris Brown, in the Mustangs’ 38-35 loss to Portland State.

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

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