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FOOTBALL WINS CAUSEWAY CLASSIC WITH 41-30 WIN OVER UC DAVIS

FOOTBALL WINS CAUSEWAY CLASSIC WITH 41-30 WIN OVER UC DAVIS

DAVIS, Calif. — Garrett Safron threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns, Jordan Robinson and De'Jon Coleman each scored a pair of touchdowns and the Sacramento State defense forced five turnovers in a 41-30 win over UC Davis in the 61st Causeway Classic on Saturday at Aggie Stadium.

The Hornets outscored the Aggies 21-10 in the second half to finish the season at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in Big Sky Conference games. The overall win total matches the 2000 team for the most wins in the school's Div. I-AA/FCS era. The Aggies dropped to 2-9 overall and 1-7 in league games.

UC Davis scored the first points of the fourth quarter when Colton Silveria hauled in a short screen pass from Ben Scott and ran 34-yard for a touchdown to give the Aggies a 30-27 lead. The Hornet offense went three-and-out on its next possession but the team got the ball back near midfield when Antonio Hayes stripped Gabe Manzanares and Ben Cowger recovered the fumble.

Sacramento State was able to move the ball to the Davis 21-yard line but faced third-and-eight. Following a timeout, Safron floated a pass to the front right corner of the end zone where Robinson outleaped a pair of defenders for his second receiving touchdown of the game.

The Hornets maintained their momentum on the ensuing drive as Nick Crouch corralled a tipped pass and returned the interception to the Aggie 38. UC Davis' defense did its part on the first three plays but Dominic Coulter gained 12-yards on 4th-and-6 for his only catch of the game to keep the drive moving. On the next play, Coleman burst 22-yards through the middle of the line for a touchdown which put the team up by 11 with 4:07 remaining.

With its full allotment of timeouts, UC Davis started its drive at the 25 yard line but Henry Fernandez stopped Manzanares for no gain on 4th-and-1 to give the ball back to Sacramento State. The Hornets returned the ball on downs but not before the Aggies used all three timeouts. Needing two scores, Scott attempted a screen pass which was picked off by senior defensive lineman Ben Cowger to close the game. That effort capped a stretch where the Hornet defense allowed just 14 yards on the Aggies' final four drives and did not allow a first down.

Manzanares was the workhorse for UC Davis as he led all players with 23 carries for 161 yards. The senior played a big part in the opening drive of the game but Anthony Payne knocked away Scott's pass attempt on 4th-and-8 to kill the drive at the Hornet 25-yard line. Sacramento State responded by going 75 yards on nine plays for the game's first touchdown when Safron found Robinson for a 22-yard TD on a wheel route. However, the extra point was blocked giving Sacramento State a 6-0 lead.

The Aggies quickly matched the scored with a 34-yard pass to Mark Martindale to take a 7-6 lead with 4:36 left in the first quarter. That advantage held just under two minutes before Safron connected with Carter for a 37-yard touchdown up the right sideline. Carter used a double move on the play to gain separation from the defender and was able to run under the ball in the middle of the end zone.

Early in the second quarter, Manusamoa Luuga carried the ball 34-yard around the right edge of the line for a touchdown. Brady Stuart pulled the extra point left to leave the game tied at 13-13.

The Hornets, again, responded quickly, taking the next drive 75 yards on eight plays with Nnamdi Agude splitting two defenders and drawing a pass interference call before making a 26-yard touchdown reception. The game went into halftime tied 20-20 as Manzanares caught an 8-yard check down pass and eluded three Hornets for a touchdown with 21 seconds left in the period. Sacramento State was flagged for a costly personal foul during that series which negated a 10-yard sack and moved the ball into Hornet territory.

In the third quarter, Sacramento State scored on its opening drive when Coleman took an option pitch from Safron and jumped over the diving defender for his first score. The Aggies' only points came on a 32-yard field goal from Stuart with five seconds left in the period.

Safron completed his record-setting career by breaking his own school single-season passing mark. The Santa Monica, Calif., native finished the season with 3,490 yards and also set the school record with 34 passing touchdowns. He also added to his career records by completing 62.3 percent of his passes to move past Ricky Ray's mark of .619. Safron had at least 250 yards in the final eight games of the season.

Carter remained Safron's favorite target, catching nine passes for 121 yards and a score. The senior concluded the season with 99 catches — the second most in Big Sky history. Carter also moved past Tony Washington to claim the single-season receiving yards record with 1,321.

Robinson had 129 all-purpose yards with a team-best 66 on the ground and 63 through the air. Coleman added 53 rushing yards and Safron finished with 44.

Fernandez led the defense with a career-high 15 tackles. The senior had two tackles-for-loss in that total and forced a fumble. Fellow linebacker Russell Smith added 12 stops. The team's five forced turnovers matched its season high. Payne made his first career interception to join Crouch and Cowger. He also recovered the other fumble.

Scott was 22-of-31 for 240 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions for the Aggies. Manzanares was the team's leading rusher (161) and receiver (44). His rushing output was the most allowed by Sacramento State this season. Zach Jones had 14 tackles for the defense.

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