OVERTIME LOSS TO IDAHO STATE OVERSHADOWS INDIVIDUAL MILESTONES
POCATELLO, Idaho — Kenyon Blue scored a touchdown on Idaho State’s first possession of overtime to lead the Bengals to a 36-33 win over Sacramento State, Saturday afternoon at Holt Arena. The loss spoiled an amazing day from sophomore Bryan Hilliard who rushed for a career high 271 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hornets end their season 6-6 overall and 3-5 in Big Sky Conference games. The six victories tied for the second most by a Sacramento State during the Div. I-AA/FCS era and the team finished with a non-losing record for just the fourth time since 1993.
Sacramento State trailed for most of the game but Hilliard scored his fourth touchdown of the game 51 seconds left and Jason Smith found Tony Washington for a two-point conversion to give the Hornets a 30-27 lead. However, Blue returned the ensuing kickoff from 8-yards deep in the end zone and was not brought down until the 43-yard line. ISU used six plays to set up a 42-yard field goal from Mike Ramos to send the contest into overtime.
Once there, Sacramento State took the ball first but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Juan Gamboa. After the score, Blue had rushes of 1 and 8 before scoring from 16-yards out around the right end,
Hilliard’s 271 rushing yards ranks third in school history and made the Elk Grove, Calif., native the first Hornet to rush for over 1,000 yards since Charles Roberts in 2000. Hilliard finished the year with 1,082 yards. His single-game effort only trails Roberts’ 409-yard effort against ISU in 1999 and his 277-yard output against Montana State that same season.
Senior Tony Washington also put his name in the record book becoming the school’s single-season receptions and receiving yards leader. Washington had seven catches for 84 yards and ends the year with 83 grabs for 1,279 yards.
As has been the case for the majority of the year, Sacramento State took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 2;46 capping the drive with a 12-yard run from Hilliard. The extra point snap was botched and the team held a 7-6 lead until Blue scored on the following drive to put ISU ahead, 7-6.
That scored held until Hilliard found the end zone for the second time early in the second quarter. ISU responded with 2-yard run from Clint Knickrehm and added 26-yard field goal from Ramos to take a 17-13 lead into halftime.
The Bengals stretched their lead early in the third quarter with a trick play. Receiver Eddie Thompson took the snap and pitched the ball to quarterback Kyle Blum on an end around. Blum then connected with Blue for a 54-yard touchdown.
A 40-yard field goal from Gamboa pulled Sacramento State closer and Hilliard scored from 10-yards out to make the score 24-22 with just over eight minutes left in the game. The Hornets opted for a two-point conversion to tie the game but Hilliard was stopped short of the goal line.
Idaho State had a chance to put the game away after driving to the Hornet 5-yard line but were forced to settle for a field goal from Ramos to make the score 27-22.
Smith had an off day under center for Sacramento State. The sophomore, completed 11-of-27 passes for 99 yards and one interception (a Hail Mary at the end of regulation). Defensively, Cyrus Mulitalo led the team with 10 tackles and ends his career ranked second at Sacramento State with 336 career stops.
Blue paced Idaho State with 168 yards of total offense (111 rushing, 57 receiving) and three touchdowns. He also had 250 all-purpose yards with his kick and punt returns. Blum, who was making his second start of the year, threw for 342 yards and a touchdown while completing 16-of-31 passes.
NOTES: The game marked the final contest for 14 seniors. The group is comprised of Gamboa, Kevin Davis, Mike Brannon, Torrell Baker, Mike Hickman, Tony Washington, Ryan Battle, Jared Vanderbeek, Darnell Worthy, Mulitalo, Ray Navar, Oscar De Alba and John Garth…over the final three games, Hillaird carried the ball 107 times for 537 yards…after forcing four turnovers last week, Sacramento State was not able to come up with one against ISU.