SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State football team jumped to a 20-0 lead, saw it shrink to six points in the second half, and then pulled away for a 42-31 win over Weber State on Saturday night at Hornet Stadium.
The Hornet offense was sparked by a pair of 100-yard rushers, a 100-yard receiver and a school record performance from Brad Cornish to improve to 2-1 on the season. Cornish made all five of his field goal attempts, including four from at least 40 yards. The junior also averaged 65.8 yards on 10 kickoffs and had a tackle. Three Hornets had made four field goals in a game to share the previous record.
After the Sacramento State defense forced a punt on the opening drive, quarterback Garrett Safron pulled the ball back on a read option and sprinted 70 yards up the left sideline for the first score of the game. Safron finished with a career high 115 rushing yards and recorded his second 70-plus yard TD run in as many weeks.
Sacramento State continued its early attack when Henry Fernandez jumped on a bobbled snap to give the team the ball at the WSU 27. Despite the drive stalling, Cornish converted a career long 48-yarder to make the score 10-0. The scoring continued eight minutes later when Safron found Nnamdi Agude for a leaping 28-yard TD reception in which Agude split a pair of Wildcat defenders. The junior was Safron's primary target for most of the night with a career high seven catches for 124 yards. Cornish capped the first quarter scoring with a 43-yard field goal.
The two teams exchanged scoring drives to begin the second quarter. Weber State posted its first touchdown on a 3-yard run from reserve quarterback Chad Leckington. That drive was answered by a 10-play, 78-yard series from the Hornets which ate up 4:25 before Jordan Robinson plunged in from a yard out. The Wildcats trimmed their halftime deficit to 27-14 when quarterback Billy Green scored on a draw from the 5-yard line.
After a 45-yard field goal from Cornish put Sacramento State up, 30-14, Weber State scored the next 10 points to draw within six. Zach Smith started the run with a 4-yard TD run and Josh Kealamakia followed with a 38-yard field goal just 52 seconds into the fourth quarter.
In the ensuing possession, Safron found Dominic Coulter for a 10-yard strike on 3rd-and-3 and Robinson followed with a 30-yard touchdown run up the middle for his career long rush. Cornish tacked on field goals of 32 and 40 yards to make it a three possession difference (42-24) with 2:12 left in the game.
Green connected with Shaydon Kehano for a 9-yard touchdown with 46 remaining for the final points.
Both teams finished the game with 467 yards of total offense but did it in different fashions. Sacramento State rushed for 277 yards with Robinson (130) and Safron (115) both setting career marks. Safron also added 202 passing yards while completing 16-of-34 passes with a touchdown.
Weber State had 377 yards through the air with Green completing 36-of-60 attempts. Sophomore Cameron Livingston led the way with 10 grabs for 175 yards. Shaydon Kehano had 11 receptions for 84 yards and Kam Kaimikaua had 10 catches for 78 yards.
The Hornets had three defenders with at least 10 tackles, led by linebacker Darnell Sankey who had 14. Sankey recorded his third consecutive game with double digit stops and also had 1.5 tackles-for-loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Senior Henry Fernandez set a career high with 12 tackles and Robbie Kendall was credited with 11 to match his career best. After having its 31-game streak with at least one sack come to a close last weekend, Sacramento State had sacks from Jaycee Tottty, Ben Cowger and Kendall during the game.
The team will continue its homestand next Saturday when it faces Menlo at 6 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.
NOTES: The game marked the 11th time that Sacramento State has had a pair of 100-yard rushers but the first that included a quarterback…Robinson's previous career high was 82 yards and he had never scored more than one touchdown in a game…Cornish had three career makes prior to tonight with none longer than 25 yards…his streak of 23-consecutive extra points, however, was stopped when his PAT was blocked in the third quarter.
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