Big plays cost football at Sacramento State
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State made several big plays to open the game in the second half and defeat the Northern Colorado football team, 42-7 on the Hornets homecoming.
The Bears (2-4, 1-3 Big Sky) trailed by only a touchdown at halftime, 14-7, but the Hornets (3-3, 2-2) blocked a punt and recovered a fumble and ran both back for scores in the third quarter and kept pressing for the victory.
"We have to take care of the ball," said Head Coach Scott Downing. "We have to tackle guys when they're in the open field. I'm not going to mince any words, I'm very disappointed in our football team. I'm very disappointed in our coaching staff. We obviously didn't do a great job of getting ready for this game. Hats off to (Sacramento) State. They played well but we have to step up to the plate and take a full cut when we're coming out to play a ball game. We have to produce."
Junior wide receiver Patrick Walker caught a game-best five passes for 97 yards, just missing his second 100-yard receiving game of his career. He also caught the lone touchdown of the afternoon, a nine-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Matt Baca, who was making his first career start.
Baca completed 11-of-20 passes for the day with one interception and one fumble. He was also sacked four times. Redshirt freshman Seth Lobato went 3-for-4 on the day for 19 yards and he was sacked once. Lobato also scrambled for 17 yards on five carries.
Senior running back Jhamele Robinson led the team with 72 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Sacramento State running back Bryan Hilliard tallied his fifth-straight 100 yard rushing game, netting 133 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns.
Sacramento State scored on its opening drive, going 85 yards on 12 plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Hilliard. The Bears fumbled their opening drive, setting up a 6-play, 62 yard drive for the Hornets and a one-yard pass from Jeff Fleming to S. Tezanos-Pinto made the score 14-0.
After a fake punt by the Hornets resulted in a 28-yard gain and a first down, the Bears defense again proved tough as senior linebacker James Schrenk forced a fumble which junior defensive back Elliott Dorsey recovered in the end zone. It was the team's 11th fumble recovery of the season.
With 27 seconds before halftime, Baca found Walker in the end zone and a Dave Eden PAT cut the lead in half, 14-7. The Bears' drive was a nine play, 59 yard drive that took 2:01.
Sacramento State blocked a punt and recovered a fumble for touchdowns in the third quarter, extending its lead to 28-7.
Senior safety Max Hewitt intercepted the 10th pass of his career, but the Hornets returned the favor, picking a Baca pass in the end zone to halt the drive.
The Hornets added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to the final score of 42-7.
Northern Colorado returns to action next Saturday when they host Eastern Washington at Nottingham Field. The game is set for 1:35 pm and will be aired on Altitude Sports & Entertainment.