SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Elijah Dotson recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game but North Dakota answered with 480 yards on the ground to spoil Homecoming for Sacramento State with a 41-15 win in front of a season high 10,709 fans on Saturday night at Hornet Stadium.
The Fighting Hawks improved to 5-2 on the year while the Hornets fell to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in Big Sky Conference play.
Dotson carried 21 times and finished with 140 yards. The sophomore from Antelope HS now has 672 yards in the last four games and became the first Hornet to have four-consecutive games above the century mark since Jordan Robinson in 2016.
James Johannesson and Brady Oliveira sparked the Fighting Hawks' ground attack. Both set career highs with Johannesson tallying 213 yards on just 11 carries and Oliveira compiling 171 yards on 18 attempts. The pair also accounted for all five rushing touchdowns for the team.
After North Dakota took a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, Sacramento State pulled closer when Bryant Perkinson scored on a 5-yard rush to make the score 14-10 at halftime. UND extended its lead early in the third quarter on a 1-yard rush from Oliveira but the Hornets immediately responded with a defensive conversion from Allen Perryman. The snap on the PAT was mishandled and Perryman scooped it up and sprinted into the end zone for two points. It marked the first defensive conversion for Sacramento State since Dan Leshore in 1990.
Devon Medeiros made his second field goal of the game to draw the Hornets within five, 20-15, midway through the period. From there, UND scored the games final 21 points with a 26-yard score from Oliveira and touchdown runs of 4 and 90 from Johannesson.
Wyatt Clapper earned his first start at Sacramento State in place of the injured Kevin Thomson. Clapper completed 12-of-22 passes for 119 yards and was intercepted one time off a deflected pass. Freshmen Tristen Meyer and Hamish McClure each saw action late in the game.
Along with Dotson, true freshman Montaz Thompson rushed for a career high 78 yards. Pierre Williams led the team with 67 receiving yards on five catches and was one of five players to haul in a pass.
Manoah Pearson paced the Hornet defense with nine stops. Malcolm Thomas added eighth while Daron Bland and freshman Armon Bailey had seven. Perryman added to his score with an interception in the first half and a 30-yard kick return.
North Dakota finished the game with 604 yards of total offense on 69 plays. Nate Ketteringham completed 9-of-16 passes for 124 yards with a TD and an interception in his return to Hornet Stadium.
Sacramento State will stay at home to face Portland State next Saturday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. The game can also be heard on ESPN 1320 AM and seen on CW31.
Head Coach Jody Sears on Wyatt Clapper's performance…
"(North Dakota) was able to get some pressure on us and I wish we could have protected him a little better. He made some good throws but we will have to watch the film and evaluate it a little further. The one tipped ball that went for an interception was a back breaker for us but you take the good with the bad and have to move on."
Elijah Dotson on his fourth consecutive 100-yard game…
"You have to give all the credit to the o-line. They work hard every week and move bodies. You can alway get 100 yards running behind them. I don't worry about the stats because once you start doing that you become a selfish player. You have to go out there and do your job and trust everyone else will do the same."
Wyatt Clapper on his fist start at Sacramento State…
"It was nice to get my first start (at Sacramento State). I thought I could've played a lot better and given us a chance to win. The guys played hard I just need to be more consistent."
8:27 - North Dakota took the opening drive of the game and used 14 plays to march 75 yards for the game's first touchdown. The Fighting Hawks converted on 3rd-and-8 with a 24-yard pass to Travis Toivonen and later had a sneak from Nate Ketteringham on 4th-and-1 to keep the drive alive. The points came on a 2-yard pass to the left to Alex Cloyd.
4:08 - After Allen Perryman recorded his first career interception, the Hornet offense put points on the board with a 27-yard field goal from Devon Medeiros.
0:56 - UND capped the first quarter scoring with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Brady Oliveira darted 52 yards up the right sideline for the score.
14:17 - Sacramento State scored its first touchdown on a drive which spanned the first and second quarter. Elijah Dotson had a 56-yard rush up the middle in which he high-stepped his way out of a tackle to take the ball into the red zone. Bryant Perkinson punched it in from the 5-yard line two plays later.
12:58 - North Dakota extended its lead with a touchdown on its first drive of the second half. After taking over at midfield following a punt, Noah Wanzek had receptions of 12 and 36 yards during the drive. Oliveira then scored from a yard out. The ensuing snap on the PAT was dropped and Allen Perryman recovered the ball and returned it for a defensive two-point conversion for the Hornets to make the score, 20-12.
8:36 - Sacramento State closed its deficit to 20-15 following a 33-yard field goal from Medeiros. The drive was set up after the Hornets recovered a muffed punt at the UND 21 yard line.
7:00 - The pair of James Johannesson and Brady Oliveira carried the Fighting Hawks into the end zone on a 4-play, 77-yard drive. Johannesson had three carries for a combined 53 yards and Oliveira added a 26-yard touchdown rush for his third score of the game.
4:10 - UND recorded its first turnover of the game when Donnell Rogers gathered in a deflected pass for an interception. Johannesson carried the ball five times and covered all 29 yards of the drive.
7:46 - Johannesson went over the 200-yard barrier with a 90-yard touchdown rush. Following a holding call on the first play of the series. the junior broke through the middle of the line and was untouched for the remainder of the way.
Kevin Thomson, Andre Lindsey and Immanuel Anderson joined the rapidly growing list of projected Hornet starters who have missed games this season due to injury. The trio were joined by senior wide receiver Jaelin Ratliff who exited the game during the first offensive series and did not return…the road team in the UND-SAC series has won the last five meetings…Dotson now has five rushes of at least 50 yards this season…he also moved into into 15th place in school history with 1,350 career rushing yards…Medeiros now holds fifth place in the Hornet record book with 26 career.