Sacramento State Preview

The Hornets return several award winning and record breaking players to a team that went 5-7 last year. <br><br> Dan Norz breaks down the Sacramento State team position by position inside.

2003 media/coaches outlook:
Picked to finish sixth in the the media and coaches polls. Also, selected to finished anywhere between fourth and sixth by preseason publications.

2002 Recap:
Sacramento State went 5-7 overall last year and 3-4 in Big Sky play. 2002 Results

Sacramento State Hornet Offense
8 returning starters, run a pro set

The Hornets return honorable mention all-Big Sky selection Ryan Leadingham who threw for 2,788 yards as a sophomore. The 6-foot-3, 207 junior has thrown for 5,537 yards, 32 touchdowns and 17 interceptions during his two year career. His 5,500 plus yards is good for the fifth most by a I-AA quarterback, after their sophomore season.

Ryan Leadingham is on pace to become the 12th quarterback in I-AA history to throw for over 10,000 career yards.

Leadingham holds several school records including career passing yards, career completions, and career attempts.  The talented junior is on pace to become the 12th quarterback in I-AA history to throw for over 10,000 career yards. He ended 2002 with back to back 300-yard games and 139 passes without an interception.

Little experience follows Leadingham. Sophomore Blake Mori (6-3, 175) saw considerable action during spring drills, but has only appeared in one game during his young career.

Sophomore tailback Tyronne Gross (5-8, 215) leads the green and gold backfield. Gross gained 420 yards and scored six touchdowns, five on the ground and one through the air, in nine games last year as a backup. Gross is a versatile player who has an excellent blend of speed and power and was named the best new starting running back in I-AA by The Sports Network.

Sophomore Josh Farrell (5-11, 202), a talented transfer from Oregon State, will back up Gross.

The Hornets lone all-Big Sky selection in 2002, Fred Amey, returns after an outstanding sophomore season in which he led the Big Sky in all-purpose yards with 164.7 a game. The junior's performance earned him an honorable mention on the I-AA All-America team. Amey led the team and the conferecne with 62 pass receptions for 989 yards; good for 5.6 receptions and 89.9 yards a game. He already holds the Sac State career receiving record with 1,874 in two seasons. 

Slated to line up with Amey is senior Kenan Smith, the second leading receiver on the team in '02.  Smith harnessed 34 catches for 466 yards.  The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior also used his arm, completing 4 of 4 attempts for 121 yards and two touchdowns. 

Junior college transfer Jason Girley earned a starting receiving spot after impressing coaches with his athleticism. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior will also help on special teams.

Junior Antone Bogettie (6-1, 185) also sees plenty of time as a reliable possession receiver.


SSU returns one tight end for the 2003 campaign, senior Caleb Jones.  Jones emerged late in 2002 as the Hornets go to tight end as he ended the year with 22 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound player has good hands and a knack for finding the hole in the defense.

Four starters return from last year's squad, each have been named all-Big Sky during their careers.  Seniors Chris Frank (6-4, 310) and Marko Cavka (6-8, 290) anchor the talented line. One of the toughest players on the team, Frank is very powerful and with Cavaka at his side form a wall on the left side of the line.

Marko Cavka and Chris Frank form a wall on the left side for Leadingham.

Cavaka who has excellent footwork has started 31 straight games. His specialty is pass blocking and he has allowed just three sacks in his career. His size and speed give him the skill set to be aggressive and mobile.

Junior center B.J. Tittlemeir (6-4, 275) and sophomore right tackle Dustin Nicolodi (6-5, 275) round out the returning starters. Tittlemier started all 12 games last year while Nicoldodi is one of the top young offensive linemen in the league.

Senior right guard Grant Hagen (6-3, 280) is the last starter. Hagen appeared in 11 of 12 games in 2002 where he proved to be one of the Hornets most aggressive lineman. The California native loves contact, especailly when he is run blocking.


Wide receiver Fred Amey who will be looking to show he can play with the big boys. The burner has almost every receiving record at Sac State despite only playing three years. He will be an excellent test for the new Beaver corners. He might have a big game.

Sacramento State Hornet Defense
8 returning starters, run a 4-3 set.

Four experienced defensive lineman return for the Hornets in '03. Kelly Micco a convernted linebacker played in 10 games making 49 tackles and returning one interception for a touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior is relentless on the field.

Senior Matt Franz (6-1, 230) started the final 10 games of the season where he recorded two sacks and four tackles for loss. Franz improved as the season progressed proving to be one of the Hornets top pass rushers. He can play the end or the tackle position.

Junior Harry Filo, who transferred from Long Beach City, grabbed the starting nose tackle position from the 2002 Hornets sack leader Eric Broden. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound player is a strong pass rusher who can also clog up the middle. Joining Filo is fellow Long Beach transfer Seth Tago. The 6-foot-1, 275-pound junior redshirted in 2002 and will be looking to clog up the middle with Filo.

Arizona State transfer Ben Fox rounds out the defensive line starters. Fox played in all twelve games last season. Several players with game experience back each starting defensive lineman.

The core of the defense is made of of the Hornet linebackers. Two seniors, Park McAllister and Ryan Kroeker, return to lead the defensive unit.

Ryan Kroeker returns after leading the team in tackles with 105.

McAlllister returns after suffering a season ending shoulder injury in the 2002 home opener. Kroeker took his place and led the team in tackles with 105, earning him honroable mention all-league honors. The 6-foot-0, 235-pound player recorded 10 or more tackles in six games and finished second in the Big Sky in total tackles.

McAllister is a big, athletic linebacker who has the ability to alter the passing game by harassing the quarterback or dropping back into coverage.

Matt Logue rounds out the starting backers after starting four games as a true freshman last year. Logue finished fourth on the team in tackles with 54. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound sophomore has a nose for the ball and works very hard on the field.


The Hornets return one of their cornerbacks from a season ago in senior cornerback Jeremey Johnson. The 6-foot-0, 177-pound player started nine games and finsished third on the team with 59 tackles. Johnson posses superb speed and is great at wrapping up the opposition. He also snagged two interceptions.

After being moved from safety to cornerback last spring, cornerback Roman Payne did not disappoint as he led all defensive backs with 83 tackles. At 6-foot-2, 190-pound Payne is an excellent cover man.

Two time all-conference selection strong safety Camro Mbewa returns as one of the most aggressive hitters in the Big Sky. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior was fifth on the team in tackles with 49. He has a career total of 175 stops in three years.

Junior Kevin Tennerson earned the starting free safety spot after sitting out in 2002 as a redshirt. The 5-foot-10, 190 pound player is very athletic and will contribute mightily this year.


Strong safety Camro Mbewa. He is an experienced player with a great resume. The California native knows the game and loves to deliever the big hit.

Sacramento State Hornet Special Teams

Freshman kicker Mitch Lively enters his first season as the Hornet's place kicker. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound player is very athletic and also plays baseball.

Junior Todd Marshall, a transfer from Long Beach City Junior College, is the only punter on the Hornets' roster. He is in his first season as Sacramento State's punter, but he averaged 38.9 yards per kick while at Long Beach. He also earned all-league honors.

Fred Amey will also try to do some damage on special teams.

The aforementioned Frey Amey returns as the Hornets kick return specialist where he had an honorable mention all-league season.  Amey led the conference in kick return yards with 792 and finished fifth in Div. I-AA with 164.7 all-purpose yards per game. He is a dangerous player who can take over a game,


Hornet Notes:

  • This is the second straight season Sacramento State has opened against a I-A opponent.  In 2002 the Hornets started their season at UTEP.

  • SSU returns its top six tacklers from last season.

  • Sac State averaged 27.1 points a game last year.

  • The Hornets picked off 10 passes in 2002.

  • The Hornet defense gave up an average of 31.7 points per game in 2002.
  • Sac St. has never played a Pac-10 opponent or any team from a BCS league before Thursday.
  • Sacramento State has not defeated a a Div. I-A opponent since beating Cal State Fullerton, 29-3, on Sept. 26, 1992.
  • The Hornets have won their past 4 out of 5 season openers.
  • Thursday’s game against Oregon State at Reser Stadium will place the Hornets in their third-largest venue in school history.
  • Sacramento State head coach Steve Mooshagian coached the NFL's Cincinnati Bengal's wide receivers from 1999-2002, including former Beavers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson.
  • Mooshagian has spent time coaching at the University of Pittsburgh and Fresno State.
  • The roster has three sets of brothers: Antone (Jr., WR) and James (Fr., DB) Bogetti, Marko (Sr., OL) and Zvonimir (Fr., OL) Cavka and Josh (Jr., RB) and Jordan (Fr., WR) Farrell.


2002 Results (5-7, 3-4 Big Sky)
Opponent                   Score
--------                   -----
at Texas-El Paso           L, 42-12

at Saint Mary's            L, 20-12

Cal Poly                   W, 27-17
at Idaho State             L, 32-24
at vs UC Davis             L, 38-21
at Northern Arizona        W, 24-21
Portland State             L, 34-20
at Eastern Washington      W, 48-41
Montana State              L, 31-30
at Montana                 L, 31-24
Weber State                W, 41-38
Humboldt State             W, 42-35


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