Sac State football falls to No. 24 Northern Arizona 37-17


Courtesy of Cody Lane/Northern Arizona Athletic Media Relations

Northern Arizona sophomore running back Joe Logan jumps over Sacramento State freshman linebacker Miguel Garcia Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Arizona. Sac State lost 37-17.

Thomas Frey

Despite recovering two fumbles and recording four sacks, the Sacramento State football team lost to the No. 24 ranked Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 37-17 at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sac State (4-4, 3-2 Big Sky Conference) only allowed the Lumberjacks (6-2, 5-0 Big Sky) to convert four of its 16 third-down attempts and stopped the Lumberjacks three times on fourth down. Even though the Hornets’ defense forced stops, the offense wasn’t able to string together enough solid drives.

Redshirt freshman Roman Ale started the game at quarterback but was subbed in and out for much of the contest for junior Wyatt Clapper. Down 10-0, Clapper threw a pick-six, which put the Hornets in a 17-0 deficit with 12:45 remaining in the second quarter.

On the next drive, with Ale under center, he handed the ball off to graduate transfer running back Joseph Ajeigbe who carried the ball 71 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season. Ajeigbe finished the game with 119 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Sac State, which trailed 17-7, then dominated the next three Northern Arizona offensive possessions by forcing a punt and then two straight fumbles. On the first fumble, junior linebacker Marcus Bruce picked up the ball at midfield and ran it 35 yards to the Lumberjacks’ 15-yard line. The Hornets settled for a 27-yard field goal by junior Devon Medeiros to cut their deficit to 17-10 with 3:28 to play in the first half.

The Lumberjacks drove down the field on their following possession, but Sac State junior cornerback Dre Terrell forced a fumble on a running play that the Hornets recovered at their own 31-yard line. Ajeigbe ran the ball for 10 yards on the first two plays before the offense stalled, and he was forced to punt going into halftime down 17-10. After two quarters of play, Ale and Clapper were a combined 1-of-8 for 7 passing yards.

Trailing 20-10 midway through the third quarter, Ale and the Hornets faced a third-and-16 from their own 19-yard line after allowing a sack. On the next play, Ale hit freshman running back BJ Perkinson for 16 yards, and Northern Arizona was called for roughing the passer. Two plays later, freshman running back Elijah Dotson caught a short pass and ran it 48 yards into the end zone to cut the Lumberjacks’ lead down to 20-17 with 4:29 to play in the third quarter.

Sac State, trailing 23-17, had another chance to take the lead as the Lumberjacks missed a 43-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. However, a personal foul penalty was called on the Hornets, which gave Northern Arizona the ball back and an automatic first down. On the next play, sophomore running back Joe Logan ran the ball for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Lumberjacks a 30-17 lead with 11:39 remaining in the game before winning 37-17.

The Hornets’ quarterbacks combined to complete just 25 percent of their passes. Ale finished the game completing 5-of-16 passes for 91 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Sac State returns home to play Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Hornet Stadium.