CHENEY, Wash. — Kevin Thomson passed for 253 yards and rushed for 121 with three touchdowns but it was not enough as No. 9 Eastern Washington downed Sacramento State, 52-31, on Saturday at Roos Field. The win improved the Eagles to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in Big Sky Conference play. The Hornets dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in league games.
For the second consecutive week, Thomson dazzled with his running. The junior became the first quarterback in school history to have 100 rushing yards in consecutive games and has scored seven rushing touchdowns in the last two contests.
As good as Thomson was on the ground, EWU quarterback Gage Gubrud was even better through the air. Gubrud completed 35-of-50 passes for 447 yards and five scores. Guburd was also the recipient of a touchdown pass of a trick play to account for six of the Eagles' seven touchdowns in the game.
Eastern Washington jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter but Sacramento State responded with 17 points of its own. EWU led 28-17 at the half after Zach Eagle caught a 4-yard pass with 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The team extended its lead with a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half before Thomson answered with a 54-yard rush down the middle of the field.
The Eagles were able to put the game out of reach with a pair of touchdowns and a field goal over a 12-minute stretch of the third and fourth quarters.
Sacramento State had 560 yards of total offense — the third time this season over 500 yards. The team followed its 333 rushing yards against Southern Utah with 307 against EWU. Along with Thomson's 121 rushing yards, freshman Isaiah Gable had 14 carries for 89 yards, senior Joseph Ajeigbe added 56 yards and a TD and BJ Perkinson rushed for 35.
Jaelin Ratliff led the team with a career-high 142 receiving yards on seven receptions.
Austin Clark and Mister Harriel each had 11 tackles to tie for the team lead.
Sacramento State will have a bye next week before hosting Idaho State on Oct. 14 for Homecoming. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. at Hornet Stadium. Tickets can be purchased online at hornetsports.com or by calling (916) 278-2222.
9:37 - Eastern was able to stop the Hornets on 3rd-and-1 near midfield. A key 59-yard pass from Gubrud to Jayson Williams took the ball to the 11-yard line and set up a 6-yard TD pass to tight ent Talolo Limu-Jones for the game's first score.
5:38 - Facing 2nd-and-24 after a penalty, EWU turned to a trick play to push its lead to 14-0. Gubrud threw a lateral to his right to Sam McPhereson, who then threw back to Gubrud. The quarterback had a convoy of offensive lineman in front of him and went down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown.
2:20 - After another 3-and-out, EWU needed just six plays to travel 62 yards for its third TD of the opening quarterback. Sacramento State nearly got to Gubrud on the scoring play but the QB checked down to Custer who was able to break a pair of tackles on his way to a 33-yard TD reception.
0:31 - Sacramento State had its first scoring drive of the game, traveling 75 yards on only five plays. Jaelin Ratliff had a 26-yard reception to spark the drive and Isaiah Gable followed with a 28-yard rush. Thomson capped the drive with a 13-yard run on a read option for his fifth rushing touchdown in the last four quarters.
8:52 - Devon Medeiros drilled a 39-yard field goal to end Sacramento State's longest drive of the first half. The Hornets used 13 plays in the series to make the score, 21-10.
6:40 - Dariyn Chotes and Ben Sorensen combined for a 19-yard sack of Gubrud to stop the next series and set up a short field for the Hornets. The offense responded with 17 yards on two carries from Gable and then hit Stone Sander for a 20-yard completion to bring the ball to the 2. Ajeigbe then powered in to make it 17-unanswered points for the Hornets.
0:16 - Zach Eagle stopped Sacramento State's momentum when he grabbed a 4-yard pass just inside the left pylon. Gubrud completed 5-of-7 passes during the drive for all 76 yards.
11:58 - EWU cushioned its lead with a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Custer scored his second touchdown of the game with a 3-yard rush up the middle. During the drive, the Gubrud completed 4-of-5 passes and also rushed for 7 yards. Custer was responsible for the final 21 yards of the drive on three carries.
8:18 - Thomson scored his second touchdown with a 54-yard rush up the middle of the field to pull the Hornets within 11. On the play, he faked the handoff and was able to outrun the EWU secondary for his second 50-plus yard touchdown in as many games.
7:40 - The Eagles wasted little time getting back in the end zone. A 49-yard kickoff return was immediately followed by a 38-yard rush from Sam McPherson. Gubrud then hit Nsimba Webster for a 13-yard pass.
13:21 - EWU started the fourth quarter with a 19-play, 92-yard that extended from the third quarter. The Hornets were originally ruled to have a diving interception from Manoah Pearson but that call was overturned by replay for the Eagles to settle for a 22-yard field goal.
10:09 - Dre Dorton caught a 21-yard pass from Gubrud for the Eagles' final points.
7:33 - Thomson completed his hat trick with a 9-yard rush which punctuated an 83-yard drive. The big play during the series was a 46-yard pass to Ratliff on 3rd-and-10 which also included a roughing the passer penalty tacked on at the end.