MISSOULA – The Sacramento State Hornets would like to forget their last trip to Missoula.
Two years ago, Montana destroyed the visitors from California, 68-7. Many of the same players and coaches return this Saturday, but this is a very different Sacramento State team.
The Hornets enter Big Sky Conference play as a dark-horse pick to make some noise. They surprised everyone by going 6-2 in the league last season, and the veteran club suits up 19 players that have made at least 11 career starts at Sac State.
Montana head coach Bobby Hauck is used to beating the Hornets. He went 7-0 against them in his first stint at UM, winning each game by at least 14 points. But he knows this week won’t be easy.
“They were picked two spots ahead of us in the preseason coaches’ poll. The guys that in theory should know have high regard for them,” said Hauck. “They’re well-coached, first. They’re physically mature, so they hold up physically. Their scheme is great. They’re solid in everything they do: offense, defense, special teams. And then they’ve got good athletes. So kind of a complete team.”
Sacramento State’s defense has given up a Big Sky-low 20 points per game this year, and they led the FCS in sacks per game a year ago. Montana’s sometimes sputtering offense will have its hands full at 1 p.m. Saturday in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.