DEFENSE STARTS STRONG, OFFENESE SCORES FIVE TIMES DURING SECOND SCRIMMAGE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the second straight week, their were bright spots for both the offense and defense during Sacramento State’s second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday at the team’s practice field.
One week after seeing the offense march the opening drive down the field for a touchdown, the Hornet defense clamped down on Saturday. The unit posted three consecutive three-and-outs to begin the scrimmage. The third series ended when defensive lineman Chris Hurts sacked quarterback Jason Smith, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Cyrus Mulitlao.
The offense earned its first first down on the next series when Smith found Ryan Coogler for a 9-yard gain on 3rd-and-7. The following series began with offense backed up to its own 5-yard line. Tyler Fanucchi helped move the team out of danger with a diving grab of a Tim Bessolo pass for a 28-yard gain up the right sideline.
Crosby Wehr took over at quarterback during the next drive and led the offense to its first score of the scrimmage. Facing 2nd-and-8 from its own 7-yard line, Wehr hit Elon Paige on a slant route for a mid-level gain. Paige initially bobbled the ball but controlled the tip and broke away from the defense for a 93-yard scoring play.
After the quick scoring drive, Wehr engineered a 13-play, 60-yard drive immediately afterward. Fanucchi established himself as Wehr’s favorite target, grabbing three passes during the drive for 26 yards. The first came on 3rd-and-7 when Fanucchi caught a pass for 12 yards. On the play, Wehr was flushed from the pocket but rolled to his left and was composed enough to complete the play. The second grab was nine yards and Fanucchi capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone.
"I think we were more spirited this week," Sacramento State head coach Marshall Sperbeck said. "We competed better on both sides. It was nice not to see the offense get down and comeback to battle after a rough start."
Sacramento State then shifted its attention to goal line offense and the Hornets responded with a pair of touchdowns. With KC Patterson at quarterback, Sacramento State moved the ball to the 5-yard line behind running back Ryan Hastie. Patterson then connected with tight end Charles Pierce for a score. The pair reunited on the following play for a 10-yard touchdown.
The final two sections of the offense were devoted 3rd-and-6 scenarios as well as the two-minute offense. During the third-down section, defensive linemen Joe Rudulph recovered a fumble for a defensive turnover.
The scrimmage concluded with a two-minute drill with Smith back at quarterback. The walk-on moved the ball down to the 6-yard line with three seconds remaining on the clock. Sperbeck then gathered the team in the middle of the field and challenged both sides of the ball to make a play. It was the offense that stepped up as Smith took the ball around the right side and just outran the defense to the corner.
Sacramento State will conclude its spring drills this week. The team will participate in practice on Tuesday and Thursday before holding its Spring Game on Saturday.