Football takes home another conference win from Southern Utah


State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State’s football team achieved something it has not managed in 21 years.

The Hornets won their third consecutive road game after coming back in the fourth quarter to defeat Southern Utah University, 27-22 at Eccles Coliseum.

“In the second half, we really pulled things together and played as a cohesive unit,” said Sac State head coach Marshall Sperbeck. “You have to play good team defense and we did that today.”

Southern Utah’s quarterback Brad Sorensen, who was picked as the Big Sky Conference’s preseason offensive MVP, was only able to score one touchdown pass against the Hornets’ secondary.

In the second half, the defense held Sorensen to 9-16 passing and 101 yards.

The Thunderbirds got on the board during their opening drive of the game when they made a 33-yard field goal, but the Hornets responded quickly.

Quarterback Garrett Safron threw a 23-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to wide receiver Morris Norrise.

However, in the second quarter, Safron struggled as he threw two interceptions and Southern Utah responded with 13 unanswered points, taking a 16-7 lead into halftime.

“I had a couple of turnovers that shouldn’t have happened,” Safron said. “I made some adjustments in the second half and we executed perfectly.”

Over the last five weeks, Sac State’s running backs have rushed for an average of 174 yards per game, but this game it was Safron who was rushing as he finished with 91 yards and two touchdowns.

“They back up a lot on defense, so we thought we could take advantage of running the draw play,” Safron said.

In the opening drive of the second half, Safron ran 63 yards to the end zone, cutting the Thunderbirds’ lead, 16-14. It was his longest rushing touchdown of his career.

“(Safron) has good speed and he displayed it on that play,” Sperbeck said.

After a quick score by Southern Utah, Safron made his second touchdown run, which finished an 11-play, 83-yard drive.

The Hornets regained the lead with 9:18 left in the game as they marched 80 yards and ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by senior A.J. Ellis.

Sac State sealed its win when senior linebacker Jeff Badger caught his second interception of the season with 1:45 left.

“I just found the quarterback and I saw him scrambling, so I tried to make a play,” Badger said. “It’s always tough to win on the road. Getting a win here in Utah feels really good.”

Next Saturday, football returns to Hornet Stadium to celebrate homecoming against Weber State at 6 p.m. Although the Wildcats have yet to win a game this season, Sperbeck said he glad to see improvement in the Hornets.

“I think the last couple of weeks have proved we are a resilient group that is going to play it to the end,” Sperbeck said. “We need to keep battling for four quarters because every game in the conference is a tough game.”

Ryan Kuhn can be reached at @rskuhn