SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State rushed for 333, the defense created three turnovers and held Northern Colorado to 0-for-10 on third down in a 50-21 win at Hornet Stadium on Saturday night. With the victory, the Hornets are 5-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Sky Conference play. UNC fell to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in league games.
Sacramento State jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter but played sluggish for the remainder of the period. The team saw the Bears go on a 21-3 run before Devon Medeiros made his second field goal as time expired to make the score, 21-20, in favor of Northern Colorado at halftime.
The second half proved to be a different story. The Hornets retook the lead with a safety early in the third quarter when the ball was snapped over the head of quarterback Conor Regan. True freshman Elijah Dotson followed with a 41-yard touchdown run for his second score of the game to put the team up 29-21 at the end of three quarters.
The Hornets outscored UNC, 21-0, in the fourth quarter with a touchdown rush from Isaiah Gable, a 21-yard interception return from Immanuel Anderson and a 17-yard pass from Roman Ale to Alexis Robinson.
The game marked the first time Sacramento State has blanked an opponent in the second half since the Hornets faced Northern Colorado in a rain-soaked game in 2011. The defense, not only kept UNC off the scoreboard, it limited the Bears to just 45 yards in the third quarter and 60 in the fourth. Six Hornets were credited with sacks, including Ben Sorensen who had 1.5 sacks as part of his three tackles-for-loss. Sacramento State finished the game with 11 TFLs, forced a pair of fumbles and picked off two passes.
Offensively, Dotson received most of the workload in the team's revolving door backfield. The freshman from Antelope went over the century mark for the first time in his young career with 16 carries for 124 yards. Dotson scored the game's first touchdown with a powerful 25-yard rush up the middle and added the 41-yard scamper in the second half. He became the fourth Hornet to rush for 100 yards in a game this year.
Roman Ale completed 13-of-21 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with seven receivers, including sophomore Johnnie Rucker who led the team with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Mister Harriel led the team with nine total tackles (eight solos). Anderson, Sorensen and Manoah Pearson each had five stops.
Trae Riek became the first player to rush for over 100 yards against Sacramento State since the season opener. Riek had 114 yards on 12 carries with the help of a 48-yard rush. Regan completed 16-of-28 passes for 212 yards and a score. Henry Stelzner led all players with 13 tackles and was one of three Bears in double figures.
Sacramento State will next travel to Cal Poly to face the Mustangs on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. in Spanos Stadium. The team will return home to take on UC Davis in the Causeway Classic on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
11:36 - Sacramento State took the opening kickoff and drove 51 yards on eight rushing plays. Dotson capped the drive with with a 25-yard up the middle of the field. The rush was the fourth for Dotson of at least 25 yards this season.
5:30 - The Hornets jumped ahead 14-0 with a 3-yard pass from Ale to Rucker. Andre Lindsey provided the big play during the drive with a 29-yard rush on a reverse. After eight rushes to start the drive, Ale faked a handoff and threw a strike to Rucker in the back of the end zone.
2:35 - Northern Colorado answered with its first touchdown on the next drive. Riek had a 48-yard rush to flip the field and the Bears moved into the red zone on a 17-yard pass from Regan to Hakeem Deggs. Brandon Cartagena completed the drive with a 5-yard rush up the middle.
4:23 - Devon Medeiros extended the Sacramento State lead to 17-7 with with a 44-yard field goal. Rucker had a 23-yard reception to take the ball inside Bear territory. The field goal was the second longest for Medeiros this season.
4:04 - UNC needed just one play to find the end zone when Regan hooked up with a wide open Alex Wesley for an 83-yard touchdown pass. Wesley was able to get past the defense down the right sideline for the longest play against Sacramento State this season.
1:31 - Northern Colorado sacked Roman Ale and recovered a fumble at the Hornet 30 yard line. Regan called his own number for a 5-yard touchdown run to give Northern Colorado its first lead at 21-17.
0:00 - Ale led the Hornets down the field in the two-minute offense and took the team to the UNC 17. After one shot at the end zone with seven second left, the team ended the half with a 34-yard field goal.
11:19 - A series of punts started the third quarter, including a Blake Cuzzupoli effort which pinned the Bears at the 2-yard line. After Sacramento State stopped UNC on its first two plays, the ball was snapped over the head of Regan and out the back of the end zone for a safety to give Sacramento State a 22-21 lead.
4:01 - The Hornets extended their lead with a 41-yard touchdown rush from Dotson for his second score of the game. The touchdown came one play after Dre Terrell had his fifth interception of the season.
10:17 - Sacramento State took its first drive of the quarter 62 yards on 10 plays to push its lead to 36-21. The Hornets again pounded the ball on the ground, rushing on each of the 10 plays. Dotson went over the century mark for the first time in his career during the series and freshman Isaiah Gable scored his first career TD with a 4-yard rush.
5:55 - Immanuel Anderson provided the dagger with an 18-yard pick six on the first play of UNC's drive. Anderson jumped the route at the 21 yard line and went untouched down the sideline for his second career score (one interception, one fumble recovery).
2:05 - The Hornet defense set up the final score of the game when Wyatt Hjelm stripped the ball from Regan and Marcus Bruce recovered the loose ball at the UNC 33. Sacramento State continued to run the ball but Ale found Alexis Robinson for a 17-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-10 for Robinson's first career touchdown.
Sacramento State is now averaging 45.0 points per game in five homes games this season…the team has won three straight home games in the same season for the first time since 2000…Dotson joined quarterback Kevin Thomson and running backs Joseph Ajeigbe and BJ Perksinson as Hornets who've rushed for over 100 yards this season…Dre Terrell recorded his fifth interception of the season with a diving catch…Thomson missed his third consecutive game due to injury…Sacramento State had a 36:15-23:45 advantage in time of possession…Medeiros made a pair of field goals and is now 13-of-16 on the season…he is one field goal shy of tying the Sacramento State single season record which is shared by three kickers…Hennie tied Shane Harrison for fourth place at Sacramento State with 134 career receptions…he is also now 10th in career receiving yards with 1,472…Sorensen now has 8.0 sacks on the season and is just a half-sack shy of George Obinna for the team lead.