Sac State football suffers letdown against Southern Utah

Dante Geoffrey

The Sacramento State football team fell back to earth today, even more quickly than expectations had risen the past week, losing to the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 35-14 at Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City, Utah.

Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen led the Thunderbirds to a 35-point offensive output, completing 30 of his 37 passes for 271 yards.

The Hornets missed offensive opportunities and played poor defense, failing to disrupt Sorensen’s flow and allowing many big plays.

Down 28-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Hornets drove down to the Thunderbird 1-yard line. On fourth and goal, quarterback Jeff Fleming threw a touch pass to an open Chris Broadnax, who dropped the ball.

That was the closest Sac State would get to mounting a comeback.

The Hornets started the game well, cruising to a 7-0 lead thanks to running back Bryan Hilliard’s strong performance.

Hilliard scored both Hornet touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards, but the offense was unable to find any consistency other than his.

Fleming, who engineered many big plays last week against Oregon State, completed only 10 passes for a dismal 78 yards against the Thunderbirds. 

Sac State was coming off a last-second 29-28 win against the Beavers last weekend, in which the passing game was very effective. The Hornets were gaining national media attention, climbing to No. 12 in The Sports Network FCS Top-25 Poll before today’s loss.

Southern Utah lost to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, also by a 29-28 score.

The Hornets play at Weber State on Saturday at 5:05 p.m.

Dante Geoffrey can be reached at You can follow him on twitter: @dantegeoffrey.