Football dominates in conference play at Idaho State

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State survived Idaho State’s passing attack as the Hornets walked out of Pocatello with their first conference win of the season.

Despite giving up 532 yards, Sac State (3-2, 1-1) provided 551 total yards to triumph, 54-31.

It was the most points the Hornets have scored since 2010 when the team scored 61 in a loss to Montana State.

“I felt that both sides of the ball followed the game plan,” said safety Ryan McMahon. “A win always feels good, but a conference win feels that much better.”

Idaho State (1-3, 0-1) came into the contest with the No. 1 passing offense in the Big Sky Conference and showed why, finishing with 534 yards passing and only -2 yards rushing.

“We had a long day and the defense is pretty worn out,” McMahon said. “Their quarterback had a lot of time to throw in the first half. It was frustrating.”

The Hornets offense never faltered. It scored on its second possession of the game when freshman running back De’jon Coleman scampered in 14 yards for his first touchdown of the season.

Bengals quarterback Kevin Yost quickly answered with 8:44 left in the first quarter as he led Idaho State on back-to-back drives, which ended in touchdown passes to Cameron Richmond and Luke Austin, respectively.

Sac State running back Ezekiel Graham ran past his previous career-high in yards rushed to finish with 23 carries for 158 yards.

He would also catch a 74-yard touchdown screen pass when he cut back across the field and down to the sideline, tying the score 14-14 to end the first quarter.

Turnovers and missed opportunities haunted the Hornets again this week, with sophomore quarterback Garrett Safron unable to score inside the 30-yard line twice in the second quarter and being intercepted in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half.

Safron, however, threw his third 200-yard game and season-high of three touchdown passes.

Hornet Kicker Edgar Castaneda did not stop the drives completely. He kicked four field goals in the game, including his personal best of 50-yards, early in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets took full control of the game in the fourth quarter when the defense intercepted Yost twice, leading to 10 points off the turnovers.

“We got a lot more aggressive in the second half with our play calls and decided to go after the quarterback,” McMahon said. “That worked really well because he was under pressure and couldn’t complete as many passes.”

Sac State will continue its two-week road trip next Saturday when it travels to Southern Utah University.

Last year, Hornets’ offensive coordinator Paul Peterson was Southern Utah’s quarterback coach and McMahon said it might help developing a game plan.

“Our offensive coordinator is probably going to tell us a lot,” McMahon said. “We just have to be able to defend what they throw at us and be resilient.”

Other notes, wide receiver DeAndre Carter did not travel with the team to Idaho State due to a foot injury he suffered this week in practice. According to Hornets media relations, the injury is week-to-week.

Ryan can be reached on Twitter at @rskuhn