RECAP: Sac State football holds on to undefeated record, beating Portland State

Hornets’ 45-17 win keeps school’s best season going


Larry Lawson/Portland State Athletics

Sac State senior quarterback Jake Dunniway passing from the pocket against Portland State Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Hillsboro Stadium. The Hornetss’ 45-17 win tied the school record for wins in a single season with 10.

Jack Freeman, Football Beat Writer

The Sacramento State Hornets dominated their last road trip of the season in Hillsboro, Oregon, taking down the Portland State Vikings 45-17 on Friday.

This game started in wild fashion, with both teams refusing to hold onto the ball. Three fumbles in just four minutes ultimately ended with a 7-0 Sac State lead. 

From there the Hornets never looked back, scoring 31 unanswered points and shutting down Portland State’s offense. While the Vikings surged in the second half, it wasn’t enough for an upset. 

“It’s great to briefly look back and realize you’ve won every game you’ve played in,” Sac State head coach Troy Taylor said. “Really proud of our guys… they played well on a short week.”


Portland State started off with the ball and sophomores– quarterback Dante Chachere and  wideout Nate Bennet– connected for 33 yards.

The tides turned quickly on the Vikings as on the next play senior running back Emmanuel Daigbe lost the ball and Sac State fell on it.

In similar fashion, the Hornets got their passing offense going early.

Senior quarterback Asher O’Hara found senior wideout Pierre Williams for 44 yards to set the Hornets up the red zone. 

Three plays later, O’Hara fumbled the ball just before the goal line, and Portland State recovered.

After one normal play, the Vikings got tricky with it and got disastrous results– proceeding with another fumble, which the Hornets recovered. 

This gave the ball back to Sac State at the Vikings 8-yard line. O’Hara again connected with Williams in the flat to score untouched from 5 yards out.

Sac State: 7, PSU: 0

Chachere led the Vikings down the field on the next drive, using both his legs and arm to avoid pressure and keep the drive going.

However, deep inside Hornet territory Portland State went for it on fourth-and-7 and only mustered 3 yards.

Sac State senior quarterback Jake Dunniway made his first appearance on this drive, finding junior tight end Marshel Martin on a critical fourth down after three straight incompletions to keep the Hornets going. 

On the next third down, the Vikings brought pressure and sacked Dunniway– forcing a 41-yard field goal attempt. Senior kicker Kyle Sentkowski connected from 41 yards out.

Sac State: 10, PSU:0

Portland State’s offense continued to sputter on their next drive, only picking up one first down before punting it back to Sac State.

Dunniway opened the drive by finding Williams for 15 more yards. 

It was then time for sophomore Cameron Skattebo’s turn. He bounced off multiple tacklers for a 41-yard run to set up another Dunniway and Williams connection in the end zone from 4 yards out.

“Finally the tenth game of the season had a little more success than normal,” Williams said. “Felt like I was showcasing some of my skills I’ve been waiting to let out.”

Sac State: 17, PSU: 0

Sac State’s defense continued to impress, forcing a three-and-out from the Vikings. 

Leaning on its momentum, the Hornets went back to the duo they’ve relied on all season– Skattebo and O’Hara. Skattebo took a toss and jumped over a defender for 22 yards. 

O’Hara answered by scooting his way to the endzone on a keeper 39 yards to the house. 

Skattebo totaled 104 rushing yards on nine carries while O’Hara picked up rushing touchdown number 17 on the season.

“You can win without running the football, but it makes it a heck of a lot easier,” Taylor said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to win, we’ll run for 300 [yards] or throw for 500 [yards], whatever it takes.”

Sac State: 24, PSU: 0

With the clock winding down in the first half, Portland State got some offense going.

They picked up two first downs, moving them to midfield. It wouldn’t last long as back-to-back sacks from Sac State senior linebacker Armon Bailey forced the Vikings to let the rest of the first half expire.

To open the second half, Williams kept his incredible game going. He connected with Dunniway for a 51-yard catch and run.

Williams finished the game with seven grabs for 136 yards and the two touchdowns. That play set up a 4-yard touchdown rush from junior running back Marcus Fulcher.

Sac State: 31, PSU: 0

Portland State senior quarterback Nathan West entered the game for the Vikings to start the second half. The Vikings kept the ball on the ground, only throwing it once. 

This worked well for them as they moved the ball into the red zone for the first time in the game. Eventually, settling for a 32-yard field goal to end the shutout.

Sac State: 31, PSU: 3

After an illegal substitution penalty on fourth down, the Hornets ran the ball to the Portland State 35-yard line. O’Hara and Fulcher ran the option where Fulcher sliced his way through the defense into the end zone for a 35-yard score.

Sac State: 38, PSU: 3

West started to get the Portland State passing game going on this drive. Four straight completions worked the Vikings into the redzone. 

On fourth down and goal, West ran but came up a yard short of the goal line, turning the ball over on downs.

Sac State went to their kill clock offense– running the ball to their own 32-yard line.

Sophomore running back Elijah Gable got his first carry of the game and lost the ball, letting the Vikings recover for the second Hornet turnover of the game.

Capitalizing off the turnover, freshman running back Quincy Craig ran up the middle and scored on a 36-yard run during the second play of the drive.

Sac State: 38, PSU: 10

To try and keep the momentum rolling, the Vikings attempted an onside kick. Martin did his best Skattebo impression and took the onside kick 45 yards to the end zone.

Sac State: 45, PSU: 10

The Portland State offense continued to find more momentum. From midfield, sophomore running back Jobi Malary took a delayed handoff to the end zone for a 54-yard score.

Sac State: 45, PSU: 17

Fielding another onside kick, the Hornets put in their backup players. Sophomore quarterback Kaiden Bennett lost the ball on the third play of the drive and Portland State recovered for their third takeaway of the game.

Nothing would come of it as the Vikings turned the ball over on downs one last time and the Hornets kneeled out the clock for a win.

“Our guys are strong — playing well,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t perfect, it will never be perfect. But we strive for it and hopefully we will come close.”

Sac State football is back in action at Hornet Stadium next Saturday against UC Davis for the Causeway Classic.

“It’ll be another moment that doesn’t really hit me,” Williams said about playing UC Davis for senior day. “It’s crazy to think six-years have gone by since I’ve been here, but I just want to win.”