FOOTBALL LEADS FROM START TO FINISH IN 29-19 CAUSEWAY CLASSIC VICTORY OVER UC DAVIS
DAVIS, Calif. -- Sophomore quarterback Jason Smith connected with senior Tony Washington for three touchdowns and a stingy Hornet defense stopped UC Davis on fourth down on four separate occasions as Sacramento State knocked off the Aggies, 29-19, in the 55th-annual Causeway Classic at Aggie Stadium.
Sacramento State, which jumped out to a 15-0 lead and never trailed in the game, snapped an eight-game losing streak against UC Davis that dated back to 2000. The Hornets also defeated the Aggies in Davis for the first time since 1996.
Sacramento State’s defense came up with big play after big play, forcing three UC Davis turnovers, including an interception by Peter Buck in the end zone with 59 seconds left to ice the game. The Hornets’ defense also stopped UC Davis on downs once in the first quarter, twice in the second quarter and once more in the third. In the fourth quarter, both Cyrus Mulitalo and Buck came up with interceptions to help the Hornets claim one of their biggest victories in recent memory.
Sacramento State improved its record to 5-5 overall this season, and will jump back into Big Sky Conference play next Saturday for its home finale against Northern Colorado. With two games remaining on the schedule (including Nov. 22 at Idaho State), Sacramento State has the opportunity to finish above .500 for the first time since 2000.
The loss for UC Davis dropped the team to 5-5 this season, and marked the first time all season the Aggies had lost at home. In fact, UC Davis had won six straight at home dating back to last season until today’s loss.
Sacramento State received the kickoff to start the game, and immediately marched 72 yards in six plays that was culminated by a 29-yard touchdown pass to Washington. On the ensuing extra point try, Kyle Hill bobbled the snap, got up and scampered into the end zone for a two-point conversion to give the Hornets an 8-0 lead just 3:03 into the contest.
UC Davis then drove the ball to the Hornets’ 35-yard line before being stopped on fourth down. Sacramento State responded with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Washington, which capped off a six-play, 65-yard drive and gave the Hornets a 15-0 lead.
The Aggies then scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to close within, 15-13, but UC Davis’ two-point conversion try after the second touchdown failed. Sacramento State answered with a third touchdown in the opening half and took a 22-13 lead into the break. On the scoring drive, Smith found freshman Chase Deadder for a 38-yard strike early in the drive and a pass interference call against the Aggies in the end zone set up a 1-yard run for a score from Smith.
The Hornets’ momentum continued to start the second half. After kicking off to UC Davis, the defense forced a fumble on the Aggies’ first offensive play. Senior Kevin Davis knocked the ball free from Joe Trombetta and freshman Zack Nash recovered. The offense then drove 28 yards for a touchdown as Smith found Washington for the third time in the game to make the score 29-13. Washington became just the sixth player in school history to grab three touchdown passes in the same game and trails only Chris Kelly's school record of four.
Both defenses stepped up their efforts for the remainder of the quarter and the first half of the final period. UC Davis pulled within 10 when Greg Denham threw a 3-yard pass to Bakari Grant but the two-point attempt failed. The Aggies’ final drive moved the ball to the Hornet 14-yard line before Buck picked off the pass.
The final statistics easily favored UC Davis except for two major categories. The Hornets became just the second team this season to hold the ball longer than the Aggies, winning time of possession, 31:43-28:17. Sacramento State also won the turnover battle, 3-0. Overall, UCD had 451 yards of total offense compared to 301 from Sacramento State. The Aggies also outrushed (144-92) and outpassed (307-209) the Hornets.
Individually, Jason Smith ended the game 13-of-24 for 209 yards and three touchdowns before being replaced by Duncan White in the fourth quarter after re-injuring his ankle. Hilliard rushed for 95 yards on 32 carries while Deadder (five catches for 86 yards) and Washington (four catches for 81 yards) anchored the receiving corps.
Defensively, Kevin Moore and Robert Virgil led he team with eight tackles. Mulitalo contributed seven stops while Deionte Gordon, Mike Hickman and Buck added six.
The Hornet offensive line also held its own by not allowing a sack for the second straight week.
Sacramento State will close out its home season on Sat., Nov. 15, when it welcomes Northern Colorado to Hornet Stadium. The team will honor its seniors, who will be playing their final home game, prior to the 2:05 p.m. kickoff.