Sac State football cruises to 41-9 victory over Cal Poly

Hornets remain undefeated in conference play with two games left in season


Jordan Parker

Senior wideout Isaiah Gable (4) charges up the middle behind freshman running back Cameron Skattebo (32) for a big gain at Hornet Stadium on Nov. 6, 2021. The Hornets’ offense netted 195 rush yards in their 41-9 win against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

Brandon Bailey

Sacramento State football leaned on its defense and an explosive rushing attack as they cruised to a 41-9 victory over Cal Poly at Hornet Stadium on Saturday night. 

The Hornets used this night to celebrate the late Greg Knapp, a former Sacramento State football player and coach who lost his life in a bicycling accident on July 22.

Knapp set passing records for Sac State at the quarterback position and started his coaching career as Sac State’s running back coach and eventual assistant head coach before taking his coaching talents to the NFL in 1995.  

“It’s important for us too that we get to honor him and meet the people that were important to his life because he’s had a huge impact on this place,” said head coach Troy Taylor. 

The Hornets honered Knapp with a great display of offense led by their ground game and quarterback play, as they cemented the win with an overwhelming defensive presence. 

The offensive charge was led by true freshman running back Cameron Skattebo who amounted 96 yards on 13 carries and finished with two touchdowns. 

It was a historic night for junior kicker Kyle Sentkowski as a 40-yard field goal to end the first half tied the program record for the most field goals made in a single season, and shortly after Sentkowski broke the record with 15 field goals on the season.

“I’m really just proud of the whole field goal unit,” Sentkowski said. “We were really focusing on field goals after 2019, and it’s really big that our hard work is paying off as a unit.”


Junior quarterback Asher O’Hara said it was “insane” seeing Sentkowski nail the 51- yard field goal attempt to break the record. 

“We were just watching on the sideline and we certainly believed it could go in, but it was in the air for 15 seconds,” O’Hara said. “I think that was the loudest the crowd got all night” 

The Hornets pounced on Cal Poly early, and it all started on the first drive with a 27-yard dart across the middle to senior wide receiver Isaiah Gable from junior quarterback Jake Dunniway. 

One play later, Skattebo put his head down and bursted through the middle with a head of steam for a 23-yard rushing touchdown that put the Hornets up 7-0. 

Dunniway and O’Hara diced the Mustangs up  with O’Hara carrying the rushing load and Dunniway leaving his mark in the passing game completing 19 out of 25 passes for 215 yards. 

The duo’s chemistry continues to build week-by-week and O’Hara attributed their success to head coach Troy Taylor’s ability to use them at the right time and the camaraderie that Dunniway and O’Hara have been developing all season. 

“I think everywhere you see there’s a lot of hostility between quarterbacks no matter if it’s just a little bit,” O’Hara said. “It’s hard to root for the guy next to you and just want him to do good because [at] quarterback it’s always one [quarterback] on the field. But here we’re changing history and it’s really been fun, I love it.” 

The Hornet defense fed off of the energy of its offense and capitalized on a pick six in the first quarter. Senior defensive back Munchie Filer III intercepted his third pass of the season, making it the 10th of the year for the Hornets. 

It was Filer’s first pick six since playing for Montana State in 2018 and he gave all the credit to his defense and senior  defensive lineman Josiah Erickson, especially  for clearing a path for him. 

Filer said that this has been one of the best defenses he’s been a part of. 

“Everybody supports each other and everybody wants to see everybody succeed. I feel like that’s the best part about it,”  Filer said.

Cal Poly did not have the greatest first half, but a sack by freshman defensive lineman and Sacramento native Josh Ngaluafe gave the team its first points of the game with a safety. 

The Mustangs kept their momentum the following possession and scored on a 15-yard touchdown from redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Brasch to redshirt freshman wide receiver Zedakiah Centers. 

Cal Poly tried to stay in the game, but following the safety and Brasch’s touchdown pass the Hornet defense buckled down and did not allow a touchdown for the remainder of the game. 

Head coach Troy Taylor said it all starts with the defense working together to execute the plan coming into the game. 

 “They [the defense] work hard at getting turnovers and when you get them, your eyes light up a little bit,” Taylor said. “When you get a chance at the end zone, you picked up some good blocks. All those corners are good athletes, so they all think they can play running back at this level.”

The Hornets dominated the second half on both sides of the ball.

Junior quarterback Asher O’Hara connected on a wide open strike to the back of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown pass to put the Hornets up 41-9 in the fourth quarter as they rolled to victory. 

The Hornets face Portland State next Saturday in their final home game of the regular season at 6 p.m.