FOOTBALL SUFFERS 31-26 LOSS TO UC DAVIS IN 54TH-ANNUAL PEPSI CAUSEWAY CLASSIC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State football team rallied but fell just short in a 31-26 loss to UC Davis in the 54th-Annual Causeway Classic presented by Pepsi on Saturday in front of 13,073 fans at Hornet Stadium.
With the win, the Aggies are now 4-6 on the season while the Hornets fall to 1-8. UC Davis also earned 10 points in the Causeway Cup to take a 30-10 lead in the all-sports competition.
Trailing 16-0, Sacramento State scored its first points of the game on a 21-yard field goal from Juan Gamboa with 23 seconds to play in the first half. The pace of the game picked up dramatically in the third quarter when senior Tyler Fannuchi scored his first career touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Jason Smith to make the score 16-10 with 9:16 left in the third.
The Aggies used just four plays to answer right back with a touchdown of their own. Kale Turner made a diving one-handed catch along the sideline for a 37-yard gain and helped set up a 10-yard strike from Matt Engle to Brandon Rice to give UC Davis a two-touchdown advantage.
Sacramento State used just 2:29 to find the end zone with a 6-play, 59-yard drive that was capped by a 28-yard run from Bryan Hilliard for a score. The 24-17 score held until Joe Trombetta scored on a 3-yard run with 1:31 to play in the quarter.
The scoring barrage continued on Sacramento State’s next drive. Jody Johnson returned the kickoff 36 yards and Smith completed a 31-yard pass to Hilliard to take the ball to the UCD 28-yard line. The Hornets again turned to Hilliard who scored his second 28-yard touchdown of the game and make the score 31-24.
As frenetic as the third quarter was, the fourth was exactly the opposite. The Aggies began the period by snapping the ball over the head of punter Emmanuel Benjamin. The senior reached the ball at his own 14-yard line and kicked it through the back of the end zone for a safety. Down by five, the Hornets took the free kick and drove to the 30-yard line but Smith’s fourth-down pass sailed over the head of Ryan Coogler, giving the ball back to Davis.
Sacramento State best chance to score in the quarter came late in the game but Smith was intercepted by Kymm Snowden at the Aggies’ 23-yard line to seal the game.
UC Davis built its early lead behind its defense. After the Aggies were stopped on 4th-and-goal from the one-half yard line, James Amos tackled Hilliard in the end zone for safety. Bakari Grant scored the game’s first touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Engle with 9:58 to play in the second quarter. The Aggies tacked on another touchdown when Adam Cook intercepted Smith at the 13-yard line and returned the ball 87 yards for a score with 5:54 showing.
As a team, Sacramento State compiled 452 yards of total offense while UC Davis finished with 304. Hilliard recorded his second 100-yard game of the season as the true freshman rushed for 105 yards on 16 carries (6.6 per carry). Junior Travon Jones was not far behind with 92 yards on 11 attempts (8.4 per carry). Conversely, the Hornet defense limited UC Davis to just two rushing yards (including the 43 lost on the snap over Benjamin’s head). Trombetta was the team’s leading rush with 22 yards.
Smith finished the game 23-of-52 for 266 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Engle was 20-of-31 for 302 yards with two scores.
Tony Washington continued his strong play late in the year with a team-high seven receptions for 42 yards. Fannuchi added a career-high six catches for 82 yards and Coogler had three grabs for 49 yards. Davis was led by Grant who had game highs of eight catches for 116 yards.
Defensively, Cyrus Mulitalo and Brett Shelton led the Hornets with nine and eight tackles, respectively. The Hornets were able to sack Engle four times during the game and were led by Mike Brannon and Dorian Brown with 1.0 apiece. Chris Buck and Mike Morales tied for the game high with 11 tackles to pace UC Davis.
Sacramento State will next play at Northern Colorado on Nov. 10. The trip to Greeley, Colo., will be the first for the Hornets in school history. The game against the Bears will kick off at 11:05 PST.
NOTES: Senior Brett Shelton moved into second place in school history with 313 career tackles. Ryland Wickman holds the school record with 435. Shelton is also just 10 unassisted tackles out of second place with two games to play…Tony Washington has now caught 19 passes for 259 yards in the last three games after tallying six grabs for 90 yards in the first six games…UCD’s two rushing yards was the fewest allowed by Sacramento State this season and the lowest for the Aggies in 2007…Jody Johnson resumed kickoff return duties midway through the game and compiled 103 yards on four returns…Smith completed passes to eight different receivers…the Hornet defense has nine sacks in the last two games and now has 30 on the season…the team is now three sacks away of setting its Div. I-AA/FCS era record…the crowd of 13,073 was the largest home crowd for Sacramento State since the 2003 Causeway Classic drew 15,650…the Hornets’ safety was the first scored by the team since Matt Logue and Mason Mitchell combined to tackle at Montana State player in the end zone on Nov. 5, 2005.