FOOTBALL EARNS FIRST BIG SKY WIN, DOWNS UNC 43-38

FOOTBALL EARNS FIRST BIG SKY WIN, DOWNS UNC 43-38

GREELEY, Colo. — For the second consecutive week, the Sacramento State football team posted incredible offensive numbers but was forced to wait until the final moments to determine the outcome of the game. On Saturday, the Hornets prevailed after retaining possession on an onsides kick attempt for a 43-38 victory.

Quarterback Garrett Safron threw for 269 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 84 yards to spark the team to 499 yards of total offense. DeAndre Carter caught nine passes for 133 yards and junior Nnamdi Agude caught three passes, including a pair of touchdowns. While those three have grabbed the headlines throughout the season, junior De'Jon Coleman had his best day of the season, rushing for 57 yards and two TDs and recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Sacramento State (4-3, 1-2 Big Sky) trailed only once in the game (13-10) and eventually pulled ahead 43-30 with 13:10 left in the fourth quarter on Coleman's second rushing touchdown. Those points proved to be the last of the day for the Hornets.

Late in the fourth quarter, Northern Colorado (2-4, 1-2) drove to the 1-yard line but the Hornet defense responded with two stops of quarterback Sean Rubalcaba. The Bears opted to go for it on fourth down and ran Robert Holland to the right side where he was met by Henry Fernandez and Russell Smith to complete the goal line stand.

Northern Colorado, however, was not done, forcing a safety to make the score 43-32 with 1:34 remaining. Without a timeout, UNC was forced to attempt an onsides kick which travelled out of bounds.

Sacramento State struck first on a 4-yard pass to Jordan Robinson on its first drive. That lead was short-lived as the Bears responded with a 45-yard run from Rubalcaba to tie the game just two minutes later. UNC took the lead with just under four minutes to play on a 38-yard field goal from Seth Czapenski.

In the second quarter. Agude caught a 12-yard pass just 31 seconds into the period to give the lead back to the Hornets. Coleman stretched the lead to 20-10 with an 11-yard touchdown. That score lasted just six seconds as Ellis Onic returned the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone for a 100-yard touchdown.

Brad Cornish made a 38-yard field goal for the first points of second half before Brandon Cartage caught a 17-yard pass to tie the game at 23-23. UNC opted to go for two on the conversion but Thomas Singleton's rush attempt came up short.

Agude gave the lead back to Sacramento State with a 25-yard TD grab which he bounced off a pair of defenders. After the defense got a stop, Jonathan Bade and Jacob Bowman went up the middle to block the punt attempt which was scooped up by Coleman and returned nine yards for a score.

Derek Vander Velde pulled the Bears within a touchdown when he caught a 12-yard pass with 2:01 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter scoring began with Coleman's 2-yard rush to finish an 8-play, 65-yard drive.

Rubalcaba completed 25-of-35 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns to lead UNC. Stephen Miller caught nine passes 142 yards and Dimitri Stimphil added seven grabs for 95 yards. Robert Holland was the Bears' leading rusher with 122 yards on 13 attempts.

Defensively, Robbie Kendall was the Hornets' leading tackler with 13 stops. Darnell Sankey added 11 tackles, including a pair for loss. Nathan Castro was credited with 1.5 sacks to lead the team's four-sack attack.

Sacramento State will next host Cal Poly on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. The game will serve as the University's Homecoming.

NOTES: Sacramento State finished one yard shy of amassing 500-yards of offense for the fourth-straight game. The team was at 501 before taking a knee on the final two plays…Carter has surpassed 100 receiving yards in three consecutive games…Coleman's blocked punt return for a touchdown was the first for Sacramento State since Markell Williams against Montana in 2011.

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