Led by Bryan Hilliard’s 136 rushing yards, the Sacramento State football team never trailed in its 24-17 win over No. 21 Weber State, Saturday night at Hornet Stadium.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Sky Conference play. The team currently sits atop the Big Sky standings with Eastern Washington after winning its fourth consecutive home game dating back to last season. Weber State dropped to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Hilliard’s performance was part of a punishing ground attack which amassed 244 yards on 51 carries. The junior carried the ball 32 times and scored the game-winning touchdown when he went around the left end with 3:23 to play. Sophomore Sam McCowan
added 59 yards on seven attempts while quarterback Jeff Fleming
contributed 43 and Jake Croxdale
Weber State overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit to tie the game at 17-17 when Cameron Higgins hit running back Josh Booker for a 13-yard touchdown with 8:15 to play in the game. The Hornets answered with a 34-yard kickoff return to take the ball to their own 45-yard line before handing the ball to Hilliard for four consecutive attempts.
Facing 3rd-and-7 from the WSU 31, Fleming found Brandyn Reed
on the left sideline for a 13-yard game to keep the drive alive. The play marked Sacramento State’s only successful third down conversion in its first 11 tries. Four plays later, Hilliard scored his 22nd career touchdown.
Weber State’s final attempt stalled when Higgins’ pass to Joe Collins was incomplete on 4th-and-12 from the Wildcats’ 27.
Sacramento State jumped to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter behind touchdown receptions from freshmanMorris Norrise
and Brett Willis
. Norrise’s grab capped a 4-play, 39-yard drive which was set up by an interception from Kyle Monson
Willis’ score came after the Hornet defense stopped Weber State on another fourth-down try. On the drive, Fleming completed all four of his pass attempts for 78 yards. The drive ended with Willis catching the pass uncovered in the end zone after a play fake.
In the second half, Weber State pulled within four on an 11-yard pass from Higgins to Kam Kaimikaua. Chris Diniz
added a 43-yard field goal early in the fourth to extend the lead back to seven.
Fleming finished the game 13-of-22 for 164 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Deadder led the receiving corps with four grabs for 83 yards.
As a team, Sacramento State outgained Weber State, 408-348. The biggest difference came on the ground where the Hornets outrushed the Wildcats (244-95).
Sacramento State will next travel to Missoula, Mont., to face Montana on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 12:05 p.m. PDT. The team’s next home game will come on Oct. 2 against Montana State at 1:05 p.m.
The win was the first over Weber State in the Sperbeck era…Brandyn Reed
caught three passes for 28 yards in his season debut…receiver John Hendershott
, defensive back Deionte Gordon
and running back Curtis Shaw
did not play due to injury…Diniz is now 15-of-16 in his career on field goal attempts…Sacramento State last defeated a ranked opponent on Oct. 31, 2009 when the team downed No. 21 Northern Arizona, 27-24.