Hornet football gives Cal Poly first loss


Sophomore quarterback No. 12 Garrett Safron runs to get away from the Cal Poly Mustangs at Hornet Stadium on Saturday.

State Hornet Staff

It is not how you start, but how you finish.

Sacramento State saw itself trailing 10-0, after fumbling twice in its first two possessions, but the Hornets responded with 21 unanswered points, giving Cal Poly its first loss of the season, 35-29.

Cal Poly came into the game ranked No. 11 and as one of only two teams in the FCS to be undefeated.

“I think Coach Peterson and our offensive staff put together a good game plan and I think our players went out and executed it,” said Sac State head coach Marshall Sperbeck. “The defense we saw today fit with what we do well and we played with great consistency.”

While the Hornets have been successful with a rushing offense that ranks fifth in the Big Sky Conference, Sac State showed it could attack through the air as well. Quarterback Garrett Safron finished completing 31 of 38 pass attempts for 303 yards and four touchdowns.

Safron’s first touchdown pass came with 4:59 left in the first quarter when he found wide receiver Morris Norrise in the back of the end zone. This season Norrise leads the team in both receptions and touchdown catches.

“They always say big players make big plays in big time games so I did my job,” Norrise said.

Norrise finished the game with seven catches, placing him at second all time at Sac State with 122 receptions.

Cal Poly came out in the second half running the ball. All season the Mustangs have led the conference in rushing yards with a triple option attack led by Deonte Williams.

Although Sac State’s defense gave up 387 yards total, the Hornets stopped the Mustangs twice on short fourth down conversions and forced two fumbles.

“What a heck of a job our defense did tonight,” Sperbeck said. “That is a tough offense to defend.”

The Mustang’s offense cut into the Hornets’ lead in the third quarter after Cal Poly marched 90 yards without a pass. Although Williams did not score a touchdown, he rushed for 168 yards and became the 15th player in Cal Poly history to surpass 1,000 yards.

Cal Poly made one final push when Broadous threw a 44-yard touchdown pass with two minutes remaining, but time was not on the Mustang’s side as Sac State ran out the clock.

The win gives Sac State six wins for the fifth time since 1993, but Hornets’ players like defensive back Ryan McMahon say they know they still have two games until they can even talk about the school’s first ever post season berth.

“This game was a stepping stone, but right now we are only thinking about tomorrow,” McMahon said.

Before the game there was a moment of silence to remember John Bloomfield. Bloomfield’s father and younger brother led Sac State arm in arm onto the field with all the players.

The Hornets final home game will be next Saturday at 4 p.m. against Montana State.

Ryan Kuhn can be reached at @rskuhn