No. 7 Sac State football team runs over Cal Poly in 38-14 victory

Hornets out rush Mustangs 348-116 for fourth straight Big Sky win


Kyle Calzia - Mustang News

Sacramento State junior running back Elijah Dotson breaks a tackle against Cal Poly Oct. 26 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Hornets defeated the Mustangs 38-14 Saturday night.

Mack Ervin III

The Sacramento State football team churned its way to a fourth straight Big Sky Conference win, beating California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 38-14 Saturday night.

The Hornets (6-2, 4-0 Big Sky) entered the game ranked a school record 7th in the Football Championship Subdivision STATS Poll and 8th in the Coaches Poll after crushing then-No.5 Montana 49-22 at home. 

RELATED: No. 15 Sac State football team dominates No. 5 Montana 49-22

Cal Poly came in at 2-5 after blowing a 10 point halftime lead to North Dakota University last week, losing the game 30-26.

Sac State got the ball first and drove all the way to the five yard line before junior quarterback Kevin Thomson was intercepted in the endzone by Cal Poly senior defensive back Kitu Humphrey. Several short drives by both teams followed, with neither being able to gain many yards.

The passing game was especially anemic, with Thomson passing for only 17 yards and Cal Poly freshman QB Jalen Hamler only throwing once in a scoreless first quarter.

RELATED: Kevin Thomson’s elbow cost him 2 seasons. Now, he’s getting them back

Three second quarter trips to the red zone resulted in three scores for Sac State. The Hornets scored on a 19 yard rush from junior running back Elijah Dotson, a two yard rush from senior RB BJ Perkinson and a 32 yard field goal from senior kicker Devon Medeiros to put the Hornets up 17-0 going into halftime.

The Mustangs insistence on sticking to the ground game and triple-option limited their production, only getting 63 yards of total offense in the first half. Hamler dropped back to pass five times resulting in three sacks and two incomplete passes.

Sac State head coach Troy Taylor said that the team has been preparing for Cal Poly’s triple-option offense throughout the season.

“Our defensive staff has been preparing for these guys for a while,” Taylor said. “They were committed to the triple-option. It’s just so different. I think our guys were well prepared.”

Cal Poly got the ball after halftime and were unable to do anything with it. After punting it away, the Hornets marched down the field again, eventually scoring on a one yard touchdown rush by Dotson.

Hamler left the game midway through the third quarter with an apparent injury and was replaced by junior QB Jake Jefferey from Folsom High School. Jeffery immediately provided a spark for the Mustangs by finding senior wide receiver J.J. Koski for a 43 yard touchdown pass, bringing the deficit to 17.

A missed field goal from Medeiros prevented the Hornets from scoring again in the third, entering the fourth quarter with a 17 point lead.

A holding penalty in the endzone on the Mustangs resulted in the Hornets getting a new set of downs. Perkinson used the opportunity to get a five yard touchdown run, pushing the score to 31-7. Dotson added on another touchdown from thirty yards out to make it 38-7.

Dotson, who finished with 226 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, gave credit to the offensive line for his performance.

“You got to give all the credit to the offensive line,” Dotson said. “They were making a lot of holes. Without them, we wouldn’t even be able to get off the line of scrimmage.”

RELATED: Record-breaking Sac State running back says tradition is key to Hornets’ success

Dotson also said that the team had to be hungry for a win because Cal Poly was desperate to snap its losing streak.

“We knew they were a tough team. We knew they were a tough defense,” Dotson said. “They came off of three losses so they’re going to be hungry. We just had to make sure that we came out hungry as well. We didn’t want to go home with a loss.

Cal Poly had a late consolation score with a 25 yard touchdown reception by junior WR Quentin Harrison late in the fourth. It proved to be the final score of the game with the Hornets winning 38-14.

Taylor described how the team was able to bounce back from a slow start to the game.

“(Cal Poly) did a good job defending the pass in the first half. Luckily we were able to get it going a little bit on the ground,” Taylor said. “The defense did a tremendous job of getting us the ball back along with special teams being solid. So it’s another really good team win.”

The defense held the Mustangs to only 202 yards of total offense, more than two and a half times less than Sac State’s offense.

Senior DB Marcus Bruce preached concentration and discipline as two of the biggest reasons behind the defense’s success. 

“The key was just for everybody to keep their eyes on their man,” Bruce said. “We had a lot of rotations going on so communication was a big part and having disciplined eyes the entire game. As long as we did that, we knew that we would come out victorious.”

With this game in the rearview mirror, all attention is on next week’s matchup against co-Big Sky leaders No. 4 Weber State. Like Sac State, Weber’s only losses this season are against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.

Bruce said that the team will start preparing for the team on Sunday, as they do for every opponent.

“We’ve got to tell the truth Sunday,” Bruce said. “That means that we’re going to come into film and we (are) gonna see what we gotta do to get better and what we gotta do to prepare for Weber State. This victory is behind us and we’re moving forward.”

No. 7 Sac State will play No. 4 Weber State next Saturday at Hornet Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.