Hornets fall in final road game; lose 29-20 to Portland State

Portland+State+junior+wide+receiver+Justin+Monahan+caught+6%0Apasses+for+154+yards+today.%0A

Portland State junior wide receiver Justin Monahan caught 6 passes for 154 yards today.

Dante Geoffrey

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The

last time the Sacramento State Hornets football team left Oregon,

it was on the heels of the biggest upset win in program

history.

The

Beaver State was not nearly as friendly the second time around.

The

Hornets lost in ugly fashion to the Portland State Vikings on

Saturday, falling 29-20 on a wet Jeld-Wen Field in Portland.

The

Hornets’ offense gained only 307 total yards, most of which came in

the fourth quarter when the Vikings were playing soft defense to

prevent a big play.

The

Vikings gained 421 yards using a balanced attack that kept the

Hornets defense chasing ball carriers all day.

Senior quarterback Connor Kavanaugh led the Vikings’ pistol-attack

by throwing for 271 yards and rushing for 89 more, including a

28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Kavanaugh is the second

all-time leading rushing quarterback in Big Sky history.

Half

of Kavanuagh’s completed passes were to wide receiver Justin

Monahan. The 6-foot-2 junior caught six balls for 154 yards,

averaging over 25 yards per reception. 

Despite holding Kavanaugh to a 12-25 performance, the Hornets

defense allowed too many easy completions over the middle, many of

which went for first downs.

“We

tried to take the run game away and we kinda forced them into some

more passing situations,” Hornets head coach Marshall Sperbeck

said. “I think they probably saw that…they probably needed to

throw the ball.”

Of

the Hornets’ 20 points, only six – an eight-yard rush by Fleming in

the fourth quarter – were produced by a sustained offensive

drive.

Sac

State’s first score was a 24-yard interception return for a

touchdown by Kyle Monson, his second in as many games. 

Up

16-6 with under a minute remaining, Kavanaugh lined up in the

shotgun on third down in Sac State territory. The snap flew wide of

Kavanaugh and was recovered by Hornets defensive back Evander

Wilkins at the one-yard line. 

Jeff

Fleming fell into the end-zone on a quarterback sneak on the next

play. The successful two-point conversion to wide receiver John

Hendershott pulled the Hornets within two. The teams entered the

locker rooms at halftime with the Vikings leading 16-14.

“Our

defense did a great job with the turnovers keeping us in the game,”

Sperbeck said. “Our defense played hard and played well.”

The

second half would see the Hornets’ defensive luck run out.

Sac

State was expecting an offensive boost from senior quarterback Jeff

Fleming, who missed the past two games with a calf injury.

Fleming was 19-30 for 129 yards and an interception. He ran well

despite the leg injury, rushing for 78 yards to lead all

Hornets.

“Jeff’s a competitor,” Sperbeck said. “He came back out and like

always he played hard and he throws himself out there and gives it

his best effort every time he competes.”

Fleming completed passes to seven different receivers. Players like

Kenonte Howard and DeAndre Carter had more balls thrown their way

due to the absences of Chase Deadder and Brandyn Reed, who were

both sidelined with injuries.

Morris Norrise led the Hornets with six receptions, but only

managed 27 yards. No Hornets receiver had more than 45 yards

receiving.

True

freshman Garret Safron played one series, completing no passes on

two attempts. Redshirt sophomore Tommy Edwards didn’t play at

all.

The

Hornets attempted two-point conversions after all three of their

touchdowns. The Hornets had two extra points blocked during last

week’s one-point loss against Northern Arizona.

The

Hornets return to Sacramento next week to host the Idaho State

Bengals at 6:05 p.m.

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Dante Geoffrey can be reached at 

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href=”mailto:asports@statehornet.com”>asports@statehornet.com.

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