Sac State football team falls short at Fresno State

Hornets allow 20 fourth-quarter points in final non-conference game


(Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

Sac State junior quarterback Kevin Thomson throws a pass against Fresno State on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs defeated the Hornets 34-20.

Mack Ervin III

The Sacramento State football team allowed 20 fourth-quarter points in a hard-fought 34-20 loss to Mountain West opponent California State University, Fresno on Saturday night.

The Hornets (2-2) were 24.5 point underdogs entering the game, coming off a 50-0 blowout of the University of Northern Colorado at home. Fresno State (1-2) came into the game winless with an overtime loss to the University of Minnesota in the team’s last game.

RELATED: Sac State football team shuts out Northern Colorado 50-0

Fresno State scored first with a 14-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jorge Reyna to senior running back Josh Hokit in the first quarter. The Hornets responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kevin Thomson to freshman tight end Marshel Martin, but were unable to tie the game after having the extra point blocked.

The second quarter provided much of the same with both teams trading touchdowns from junior RBs, Ronnie Rivers for the Bulldogs and B.J. Perkinson for the Hornets. Another missed extra point attempt left the Hornets trailing 14-12 at halftime.

The Bulldogs’ achilles heel Saturday night came from their special teams efforts, with junior kicker Cesar Silva missing three field goals from 49, 35 and 37 yards and one extra point attempt, leaving ten points on the field.

Both teams fumbled in the third quarter and were not able to generate much momentum, leading to a scoreless period.

Sac State head coach Troy Taylor praised his team’s ability to play with poor field position but lamented the lack of scoring in the third quarter.

“They were on a short field throughout the third quarter and they just continued to hold out, that was really promising,” Taylor said in a press conference. “We didn’t make enough plays in the third, that was the biggest issue. We just couldn’t get enough going in the third quarter.” 

Sac State senior defensive back Allen Perryman, who led the team with 12 tackles, said that the defense was not going to alter its gameplan by underestimating their opponent.

“Our motto is just swarming the ball,” Perryman said in a press conference. “We’re not going to take any opponent lightly and we know we’re gonna keep our same energy throughout all four quarters.”

Fresno State broke the scoring drought in the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown rush from Hokit. The extra point was missed, leaving the score 20-12. 

The Hornets got the ball back and made seven plays to go 75 yards in under three minutes for another touchdown. A two-point conversion by Perkinson tied the game at 20.

The Bulldogs responded with a methodical drive of their own, running 11 plays capped off with a seven-yard floated pass to senior wide receiver Derrion Grim for the score, putting Fresno State back in front 27-20.

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Penalties were a big sticking point for Sac State, racking up 12 penalties for 142 yards, including a costly personal foul penalty late in the fourth quarter to keep the Bulldogs’ drive alive. Hokit scored again with a 14-yard rush to increase his team’s lead to 34-20, effectively ending any chance of a Hornet comeback.

Hokit was a big factor for the Bulldogs Saturday night, rushing 12 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns, and making three receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown.

The Hornets are now 2-2 this season and have a bye this upcoming week as the team gears up for the start of Big Sky Conference play.

Taylor said that the bye week won’t change their mentality or gameplan.

“I think our team is resilient,” Taylor said. “That’s kind of been proven over the first four weeks. Each week we just get better. We’ll try to get some guys healthy, get a little rest and then start getting ready for Eastern Washington.”

Sac State’s next game is against Big Sky opponent Eastern Washington University on Oct. 5 at Hornet Stadium.