Trying To Stop A Train

Sacramento State comes to town two weeks from tonight to play on the famous Blue Turf of Bronco Stadium against Boise State. In this second part of our series previewing the Hornets, we examine the defensive front.

Three starters return on the defensive line for Sacramento State this year. Juniors James Henderson (6-2, 245) and Chris Hurts (6-3, 290) and sophomore Mike Brannon (6-2, 240) all bring experience. Brannon's penetration allowed him to record 11 tackles for loss; he led the defensive linemen with 54 tackles and earned Honorable Mention All-Big Sky. Henderson proved to be a force in the eight games he started and finished with 8.5 tackles for loss and 21 tackles. He will start at defensive end opposite Brannon.

Hurts returns for a second season at tackle. Junior college transfer Dallas Mauga (6-1, 300, Jr.) figures to start this fall at tackle as well. He was originally signed by San Diego State but chose the junior college route instead, earning JC All-America honors from JC Gridwire. Andrew Blume (6-2, 280) could factor into the equation as a true freshman. In addition to his football talents, he was ranked as the #23 heavyweight wrestler in the nation. Bill Sherman (6-2, 295, Fr.) could also see playing time. Sherman was the Sacramento Bee's Defensive Player of the Year after leading his high school team to a 13-0 record and the state's Division II title.

LaMarr Robinson (6-2, 230, So.) played in nine games at defensive end with three tackles. Tackle Adolph Stone (6-0, 275, Sr.) saw action in eight games last season and tallied 2.5 tackles for loss.

Henderson and Brannon balance their small size with good quickness, while the two tackles will have the size to plug holes in the middle. Still, Sacramento State allowed 32 points per game last year, including 41 by California and 45 by Eastern Washington. This unit will have its hands full against a big, strong and experienced Boise State offensive line.

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