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FOOTBALL FALLS IN SHOOTOUT TO MONTANA STATE, 59-56

FOOTBALL FALLS IN SHOOTOUT TO MONTANA STATE, 59-56

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State had its best offensive game in school history but the Hornets could not make a final stand as Montana State scored with four seconds left to claim a 59-56 victory at Hornet Stadium on Saturday night.

The win improved the 13th-ranked Bobcats to 4-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Sky Conference. Sacramento State dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in league games.

The Hornets shattered the school record for total yards, compiling 694 yards. That mark broke the previous record of 641 set in 2003 against Idaho State. Quarterback Garrett Safron threw for 463 yards and rushed for a career high 146 to finish with a school record 609 yards of total offense. That total places him fourth in Big Sky single-game history. Safron's 463 passing yards place him second in school history and he now owns the top three marks in Hornet history. The senior also threw for five touchdowns for the third time in his career and completed 25-of-39 passes with an interception.

Montana State's Dakota Prukop overcame an interception, which was returned for a touchdown by Joshua Armstrong on the second play of the game, to finish with 348 passing yards and 140 rushing yards. Prukop was 23-of-34 with five passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. The pair are believed to be the first in Big Sky history to each throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100.

Trailing 38-28 entering the fourth quarter, Sacramento State rallied to take the lead when Safron found DeAndre Carter for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 remaining in the game. During the 7-play, 79-yard drive, Safron completed 5-of-6 passes, including two for over 25 yards.

Montana State immediately moved into scoring position when Gunnar Brekke returned the kickoff 70 yards to the Hornet 30-yard line with 52 seconds and two MSU timeouts remaining. Prukop drove the Bobcats to the 3-yard line with 8 seconds left in the game before lofting the ball to the left side of the end zone where Mitchell Herbert was able to wrestle the ball away from the defender for the winning touchdown.

Armstrong put the Hornets on the board just 44 seconds into the game with his first career touchdown coming on a 31-yard interception. MSU answered to tie game when Prukop dashed 30 yards up the middle of the field less than three minutes later. Sacramento State needed only one play to retake the lead when Safron floated a ball to a wide open Agude for a 75-yard touchdown pass.

The scoring onslaught continued with Montana State adding two more scores in the first quarter. The first came with 8:34 left when Justin Paige caught a 48-yard TD pass. The second with 33 seconds left in the quarter on a 9-yard pass to Lee Perkins.

After a combined 35-point first quarter, neither team was able score for nearly 23 minutes before Montana State extended its lead to 28-14 when Jayshawn Gates caught a 45-yard touchdown pass with 8:42 left in the third quarter. Carter caught the first of his three TD passes on a 23-yard strike from Safron with 5:32 showing. Prukop ran for a 49-yard touchdown just 90 seconds later only to have Agude grab a 19-yard touchdown pass to make the score 35-28 in favor of the Bobcats. MSU posted the final points of the quarter with the help of a 74-yard kickoff return from Brekke which led to a 27-yard field goal by Luke Daly.

The explosive fourth quarter began when Carter caught a 32-yard pass for a score just 34 seconds into the period to pull the Hornets within three, 38-35. Prukop answered with a 10-yard run to provide some cushion but linebacker Darnell Sankey finished a 6-play drive with a 1-yard run for his second rushing touchdown of the season.

After a defensive stop, Sacramento State took its first lead (49-45) since the first quarter when Jordan Robinson ran up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown rush with 4:05 left in the game. That advantage held for only 94 seconds before Brekke caught a 59-yard touchdown pass on a wheel route to give MSU a 52-49 lead.

Carter finished with 11 receptions for a career high 184 yards. Carter also moved into a tie for first place in school history, matching Fred Amey's 27 career receiving touchdowns. Agude also set a career best with 197 yards on only six receptions (32.8 yards per catch). The pair each went over 150 yards for the second straight week and remain the only duo in school history to do so in a single game.

Defensively, Sankey led three Hornets in double figures with a career high 21 tackles. Henry Fernandez and Jaycee Totty added 11 and 10, respectively. Sankey's total is tied for the second most in school history trailing Ryland Wickman's 22 at Eastern Washington in 1997.

Sacramento State will next play at Northern Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 12:30 p.m. PDT. The team's next home game will be on Oct. 18 against Cal Poly on 6 p.m.

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