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FOOTBALL NOT ABLE TO KEEP PACE WITH IDAHO STATE IN 44-24 LOSS

FOOTBALL NOT ABLE TO KEEP PACE WITH IDAHO STATE IN 44-24 LOSS

POCATELLO, Idaho — Sacramento State posted 532 yards of total offense and received career days from Nnamdi Agude and DeAndre Carter but the team was unable to control Idaho State's offensive attack in a 44-24 loss on Saturday at Holt Arena.

The Hornets dropped to 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in Big Sky Conference games. Idaho State moved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.

The Bengals amassed 639 yards of offense led by Justin Arias completing 30-of-42 passes for 413 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Xavier Finney rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns and Madison Mangum caught eight passes for a career high 174 yards and a TD also threw a touchdown.

"We turned the ball over too many times," Sacramento State head coach Jody Sears said. "At the same time, we have to start making plays on defense. You have to tip your hat to Idaho State because they're not the same team they've been the last few years. If you don't make plays in the passing game either defending it or catching it the result is not going to go your way."

Idaho State had all the momentum in the opening minutes but the Hornets were able to hang around. The Bengals drove 73 yards on their first drive of the game but were forced to settle for a 19-yard field goal from Zak Johnson. Sacramento State then fumbled on its first offensive play giving ISU the ball inside midfield. The Bengals drove to the 3-yard line but Arias' pass was intercepted by Dexter Alcala in the end zone.

The Hornets responded with a methodical 14-play, 91-yard drive which ended when Safron connected with DeAndre Carter for an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the team a 7-3 lead with 3:09 in the first quarter.

The course of the game changed late in the first quarter when linebacker Darnell Sankey — the nation's second leading tackler — was disqualified after a targeting penalty. Sankey had two tackles in the early going before being forced to leave.

Idaho State took the lead for good early in the second quarter when Finney scored on a 1-yard touchdown just four seconds into the period. The Bengals then scored on a 35-yard touchdown on a trick play from Mangum to KW Williams midway through the period to claim a 16-7 lead.

Carter and Safron hooked up for a second touchdown pass — this time from 4 yards — to trim the Bengal lead to two points with 4:52 left in the period. That provided to be enough time for both teams to score. Broc Malcom caught a 19-yard pass from Arias  and the team got a two-point conversion to go ahead by 10 (24-14) before Brad Cornish made a 42-yard field goal with less than a minute to play.

Down by just a score and receiving the ball to start the second half, Safron threw an interception which was returned to the 3-yard line on the first play of the half. Finney scored his second touchdown on the game on the next play for the only points in the third quarter. The Hornets had a chance to score late in the third but Safron was picked off by a diving Erik Collins in the end zone.

The teams traded scores in the fourth quarter. ISU struck first on an 11-yard touchdown catch by Mangum in the back corner of the end zone. Carter had his scoring grab for the Hornets less than two minutes later on a 31-yard pass from Safron. The final points came from Finney on a 3-yard run.

Safron, who completed his first 18 attempts of the game, finished 33-of-49 for 382 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. The senior also rushed for 79 yards and in the process, passed Ryan Leadingham for the career lead in total offense at Sacramento State.

Two Hornet receivers caught at least 10 passes with Carter grabbing a career high 14 for 158 yards and three scores. The senior tied Mike Powell for second place in Hornet single-game history and was one away from Fred Amey's school record of 15 receptions. Agude set career marks with 11 receptions for 153 yards. The junior now has three 100-yard receiving games in the first five contests of the season.

Combined with the 551 yards of total offense against Menlo last week, Sacramento State went over 500 yards in consecutive games for the first time since 1999.

Defensively, Robbie Kendall and Tyler Meteer each had a career high 16 tackles to lead the team. Henry Fernandez was also in double digits with 11 stops.

Sacramento State returns home to face Montana State on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.

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