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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Sacramento State Hornets

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They like Pac-12 upsets

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 08 Sacramento State at San Diego State Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona State 2019 Schedule

Kent State (Aug. 29) - Read

Sacramento State (Sept. 6)

At Michigan State (Sept. 14)

Colorado (Sept. 21)

At Cal (Sept. 27)

Washington State (Oct. 12)

At Utah (Oct. 19)

At UCLA (Oct. 26)

USC (Nov. 9)

At Oregon State (Nov. 16)

Oregon (Nov. 23)

Arizona (Nov. 30)

Sacramento State’s 2018 Season

The Hornets’ started off their season with a beatdown of the St Francis Fighting Saints winning 55 to 7 in the opening game. They then proceeded to win only one more game the rest of the year, finishing the year 2-8. The disappointing season had them finish last in the Big Sky conference losing all seven of their in-conference games.

Key Returners

QB Kevin Thomson Thomson completed 79-of-145 passes for 1,380 yards and eight touchdowns with only one interception. Averaged 9.52 yards per pass which ranks second in school history, trailing his own record from a season prior. His efficiency rating of 151.3 was the third best all-time by a Hornet and he also rushed for 134 yards on 51 carries. Thompson shared time at quarterback last year with Wyatt Clapper, but now that he is gone the offense is in Thomson’s hands.

DB Caelan Barnes — Barnes started all 10 games at cornerback, ranked second on the team with 71 total tackles, had at least three stops in each game and finished with five or more in all but one game. Going into his Senior year Barnes is the clear leader of this defense and if they hope to do any better than last year he will have to lead by example.

Biggest Losses

WR Jaelin Ratliff — Ratliff ranked second on the team with 22 receptions for 459 yards and a touchdown, finished his career ranked sixth in school history with 1,749 receiving yards, is also tied for 17th with 91 career receptions and sixth with an average of 19.22 yards per reception, and had seven catches of at least 25 yards during the season. His level of production will be tough for the Hornets to replicate.

LB Immanuel Anderson Anderson finished his career ranked sixth in school history with 311 career tackles and also ranks fourth in program history with 166 solo stops. In his final year he led the team with 73 tackles, had 44 solos and 10.0 tackles-for-loss in that total. Anderson was the leader on the defensive side of the ball and in leaving he lives a big gap for the Hornets to fill.

Reasons why ASU Could Win

This is a game that the Sun Devils should win, Sacramento State was 13th in the Big Sky Conference and ASU was competitive in the Pac 12 conference all year. Arizona State is a much more talented team than the Hornets and if last year is a good judge of what is to be expected it should be a downpour of touchdowns in the desert for the Sun Devils.

Reasons why ASU Could Lose

Arizona State could get caught looking ahead to their tough week three matchup on the road against Michigan State, who will be looking to avenge the loss they took at the hands of the Sun Devils last year. Arizona State is not a team that can win giving half effort so if the team is not totally focused on Sacramento State, there could be for the second year in a row an upset week two in the desert.