6th: Big Sky
145th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: The Hornets had one of its best seasons in the Division I era for a team that moved up from DII in 1993–just narrowly missing out on a playoff berth despite a 7-4 overall record.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: DE Ben Sorensen was a third team All-American performer last year as well as an All-Big Sky first teamer. He led the Big Sky and tied for fifth in the FCS with 10.0 sacks (1.00 per game). He spearheaded a Hornet defense which set the school Div. I-era record with 43 sacks and led the FCS in sacks per game.
Key Player: QB Kevin Thomson is back for his senior season after a remarkable 2017 season. He was a big part of changing an offense that went from tying for last in scoring in the Big Sky in 2016 to averaging 37.6 points (5th best in FCS) a year ago. Thomson, who was injured in and forced to sit the last three games, set a Hornet school record with a 171.80 passing efficiency rating. He totaled 26 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
Fearless Prediction: The Hornets have all the ingredients to make a run at a playoff berth this year. The key will be keeping Thomson healthy and to keep the defense at its high performing self as well as overcoming a schedule that includes NAIA St. Francis of Illinois, which likely means the Hornets will need an 8-win campaign.