SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Three Sacramento State quarterbacks combined to throw for 377 yards and account for six touchdowns and the Hornets forced five turnovers in a 56-22 victory over Incarnate Word on Saturday in the home opener at Hornet Stadium.
Kevin Thomson led the offensive attack by completing 10-of-16 passes for Sacramento State (1-1) and throwing five touchdowns. He became the first Hornet to throw five TDs in a game since Garrett Safron had five against Southern Utah in 2014. Senior Kolney Cassel shared time in the first half and was 2-of-6 for 31 yards. Junior Wyatt Clapper saw action in the third and fourth quarters where he passed for 26 yards and had 13 rushing yards, including a touchdown.
Six Hornets combined to catch 13 passes with five scoring touchdowns. Andre Lindsey had a career high 176 yards on just four receptions, including a 60-yard touchdown pass. Jaelin Ratliff caught three palls for 84 yards with a 48-yard TD grab and Isiah Hennie (44-yard TD catch, Elijah Dotson (32-yard touchdown catch) and Johnnie Rucker (7-yard TD catch) competed the receiving touchdowns.
Terrell's reception total would have tied him for second on the team in the game but all three of his came on defense. The junior tied the school record which was held by Terry Patterson (1973), Merv Davis (1975), Chad Johnson (1995) and Ramon Payne (2004) and became the first Hornet to have multiple interceptions in a game since 2011. His first interception came on a diving over-the-shoulder catch on a 47-yard pass attempt down the middle of the field late in the first quarter. He jumped a route along the sideline and returned it 20-yards early in the second quarter for his second pick. However, the third one was the most thrilling as he made a swiping one-handed, full-extention catch at the 1-yard line with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. Terrell flurry gave him four interceptions in the first six quarters of the season after not having a pick in his first two seasons. The four interceptions also matched the team total from a year ago.
Dotson finished the game with 151 all-purpose yards as he led the team with 74 rushing yards and also had 46 yards on kick returns.
On defense, Terrell led the team with six total tackles, including one for loss. In all, 11 players had at least four stops, 19 had at least two tackles and 27 had a tackle during the game. Along with Terrell's three interceptions, true freshman Miguel Garcia recorded his first career interception and Ben Sorensen also recovered fumble. The Hornets have now created eight turnovers in the first two games of the year.
Sacramento State continues its homestand against Weber State in a non-league matchup between two Big Sky Conference schools next week at 6 p.m. in Hornet Stadium.
11:13 - After Ben Sorensen recovered a fumbled snap near midfield, Thomson threw a short pass to Hennie and watched the senior elude a few defenders for a 44-yard touchdown. The catch was just one yard off Hennie's career long and marked the first collegiate passing score for Thomson.
12:06 - The Hornets appeared to be stopped after a 3rd-and-1 rushing attempt came up short. Instead an unsportsmanlike conduct call against the Cardinals kept the drive alive and Elijah Dotson scored on a 51-yard rush around the right edge to put the team on top 14-0.
9:51 - Terrell's second pick took the ball to the UIW 11-yard lone. The Hornets struggled moving the ball and a false start penalty left the team with a 3rd-and-goal from the 7 where Thomson found Rucker in the middle of the end zone.
5:34 - The Cardinals took advantage of a fumble recovery at the Hornets' 10-yard line to score its first points. After the Hornet defense held the team to eight yards on three plays, UIW settled for a 19-yard field goal from Jose Perez.
2:25- On the next series, a 45-yard pass to Lindsey took the ball to the 6 and Joseph Ajeigbe used two rushes for his first score at Sacramento State and make the score 28-3 at halftime.
12:50 - Dotson scored his second touchdown of the day as the true freshman got behind the defense on a wheel route to haul in a 32-yard pass.
10:41 - Perez made a 40-yard field goal, his second of the game. The Cardinals were helped by a roughing the passer call in the drive to pick up 15 yards.
10:41 - In a strange sequence, Incarnate Word added two more points without the clock moving. On the kickoff following the field goal, the ball was muffed by Dotson at the one and bounced into the end zone. He then attempted to throw it forward where it was recovered by UIW for an apparent touchdown. However, after review, the officials ruled a safety.
7:35 - Thomson connected with Ratliff for a perfectly placed 48-yard pass down the right side line to stretch the score to 42-8. The catch was the longest of Ratliff's career.
4:38 - Lindsey added to the total with a 60-yard touchdown reception. The Big Sky champion in the men's 110-hurdles capitalized on his track speed to get past the defense for his first career interceptions.
0:13 - Clapper took over the offense for the final drive of the fourth quarter and called his own number to cap an 8-play, 75-yard drive. Facing 2nd-and-9 from 13, he rushed up the middle of the field and carried a couple of defenders into the end zone to make the score, 56-8, at the end of the third quarter.
8:53 - Another fumble by the Hornets were turned into points by UIW. The team scored its first touchdown pass on a 2-yard pass from Sean Brophy to Malik Harris in the front of the end zone.
5:44 - The Cardinals blocked a punt on the next series and recovered at the Hornet 12-yard line. Lamont Johnson scored from 8 yards out on the second play of the series for the final points of the game.
Dre Terrell on the third interception
I get in trouble probably every day in practice for not using two hands and I'll probably get in trouble on Monday when we watch the film. I know that catching the ball is one of my strengths and I've made plays like that before.
Dre Terrell on teams throwing at him
I think teams look at me as a small corner and they are going to take their shots. I have to rely on our coaches putting me in the right position on then on me using proper technique.
Kevin Thomson on sharing time at quarterback
We support one another. It's great knowing that guys are right behind you and challenging you every day in practice. It's no so much a competition but each one of use doing what's best for the team.
Jody Sears on the defense getting five turnovers
That's something we've been stressing for four years. Dre having three interceptions in the first half which was absolutely phenomenal. It's something we work on a lot to create turnovers for the offense. It's something we have to build on.
The 56 points scored by the Hornets were the most in regulation in a home opener since defeating Saint Mary's, 69-19, on Sept. 6, 2003. The team did defeat Southern Oregon, 63-56, in overtime in the 2013 home opener.
The last Hornet to have four interceptions in a season was Zach Schrader in 2009.
The four interceptions as a team ties the school Div. I-AA/FCS era record which had been done nine previous times. The last time was against Idaho State in 2015.