SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kevin Thomson threw for a career high 361 yards and matched his career best with five touchdown passes and the Sacramento State defense shut out Northern Colorado as the Hornets downed the Bears, 50-0, on Saturday night at Hornet Stadium.
Thomson completed passes to nine receivers, including a pair who each went over 100 yards. Running back Elijah Dotson became the first Sacramento State running back to have 100 receiving yards in a game as he caught seven passes for 158 yards and a score — all of which came in the first half. Pierre Williams added 115 receiving yards with six receptions. Isaiah Gable, Marshel Martin, Marcus Fulcher and Dewy Cotton each added their first career receiving TD.
The defense limited UNC to 171 yards of total offense and forced a pair of turnovers while recording its first shutout since a 14-0 blanking at Northern Colorado in 2011. The Bears drove into Sacramento State territory and gained 20 yards on its second series. From there, the Hornets forced three-and-outs on seven of the next nine series with the exceptions being a two-play drive which resulted in a safety and a fourth-down stop. During those nine drives, UNC was limited to a total of four yards.
Senior Dariyn Choates sparked the early success with six tackles, including 3.5 tackles-for-loss. Choates forced a pair of fumbles, had a pass break up and was responsible for the team's safety. Linebacker Jeremy Harris led the team with 10 total tackles. Overall, the Hornet defense had 10.0 tackles-for-loss.
"I love these guys," Sacramento State head coach Troy Taylor said. "They bought in right from the beginning which does not always happen. They have given us everything they got each week. They are mindful and living in the moment which is something we are trying to do. They think they can beat anyone on the schedule and we are having a great time."
Sacramento State scored it's first touchdown on a 31-yard pass to Dotson down the right sideline where the running back went untouched into the end zone. The team moved the score to 14-0 five minutes into the second quarter when Isaiah Gable caught a 10-yard pass in the middle of the end zone to cap a 4-play, 99-yard drive which was sparked by an 88-yard shovel pass to Dotson.
The defense got into the scoring action when Choates thwarted Milo Hall in the end zone. The Bears were pinned at their own 1-yard line after a quick kick from Thomson and were nearly hit in the end zone on the first rushing attempt. The safety was the first for Sacramento State since UNC snapped the ball out of the end zone in 2017.
Sacramento State took a 22-0 lead into halftime when Marshel Martin found the corner of the end zone with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. The team exploded in the third period with 21 points. Fulcher had an acrobatic 10-yard reception which he went airborne for the last three yards. After a fumble recovery, Thomson found Dewey Cotton for a 14-yard TD to make it 36-0. BJ Perkinson added a 1-yard plunge with 3:34 remaining in the quarter.
With the Hornets turning the offense over to most of their reserves in the second quarter, Fulcher capped the night with a 5-yard run. The true freshman is now tied for the team lead with four touchdowns this season (3 rush, 1 rec) despite playing in only two games.
Sacramento State will play its final non-conference game of the year next Saturday, Sept. 21, at Fresno State. The game will kick off from Bulldog Stadium at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on Facebook. The team's next home game will be on Oct. 5 against Eastern Washington at 6 p.m.
- Sacramento State's last shutout was at Northern Colorado (14-0) on Oct. 8, 2011. That game was played in torrential rain and the Hornets did not attempt a pass in that contest. The team's last shutout at home was against San Francisco State (30-0) on Sept. 10, 1994.
- The game was the third-largest margin of victory in a shutout in program history. Only a 76-0 win over USF in 1968 and 60-0 victory over Cal Lutheran in 1988 were larger.
- The Hornets have had 10 players score a touchdown this season with Dotson and Fulcher tied for the team lead with four.
- Sacramento State is limiting the opposition to 59.3 rushing yards per game.
- The 50-point margin of victory is tied for the fifth-highest in program history. Sacramento State is now averaging a 54.0 point margin of victory in its two home games this season.
- Sacramento State has gone over 600 yards of total offense in both home games this season.
- Northern Colorado quarterback Jacob Knipp was hit during the second quarter and did not return.