FOOTBALL STRUGGLES TO OVERCOME EARLY DEFICIT IN LOSS 31-20 LOSS TO MONTANA STATE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State football team proved unable to overcome another early deficit in a 31-20 loss to Montana State, Saturday afternoon at Hornet Stadium. The Hornets trailed 17-0 at halftime and eventually fell behind 31-7 before rallying for two fourth-quarter scores.
The loss dropped the team to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in Big Sky Conference play. The Bobcats improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in league action.
Neither team produced offensive fireworks as MSU outgained Sacramento State, 313-303. However, the Bobcats took advantage of three turnovers and also blocked a punt for a touchdown en route to their seventh win in the last eight games against the Hornets.
Montana State rallied behind Demetrius Crawford on its opening drive. The 5-foot-9 back rushed for 36 yards during the series, including a 9-yard touchdown to give the team a 7-0 leads with 6:42 left in the opening quarter. Jason Cunningham added a 23-yard field goal on the team’s next drive to make the score 10-0 at the end of the first period.
The lead moved to 17-0 midway through the second period when Brad Smith sacked Jason Smith forcing a fumble which was recovered by Jeff Price at the Hornets’16-yard line. Two plays later Cody Kempt found Brandon Bostick in the end zone for a 5-yard score.
Sacramento State started the second half in exciting fashion. After Montana State drove to the Hornet 32-yard line, Cyrus Mulitalo intercepted Kempt and returned the ball 53 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown from Bryan Hilliard. Montana State, however, answered back with a special teams play for a score.
With Oscar De Alba punting from the goal line, DeAndre Green came untouched and was able to block the kick into the end zone where Kevin Retoriano picked it up for the touchdown. MSU scored its final points on the opening drive of the fourth quarter when Kempt connected with Green for an 18-yard TD.
Hilliard scored his second touchdown of the day on the ensuing drive but the team’s pass attempt on a two-point conversion failed. Smith later found Tony Washington for a 27-yard touchdown with less than a minute to play.
Individually, Smith finished the day 21-of-41 for 212 yards and a touchdown. However, the sophomore was intercepted a season high two times and was sacked five times. Hilliard rushed for 96 yards for the second consecutive week and scored two touchdowns. Washington added eight receptions for 78 yards and a score.
Defensively, sophomore Peter Buck and freshman Deionte Gordon each had 11 tackles to lead the Hornets. Linebackers Mike Brannon and Cyrus Mulitalo controbited nine and eight stops, respectively.
Montana State was led by Crawford who had 112 rushing yards. Kempt was 13-of-25 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Arnold Briggs and Bobby Daly each had 12 total tackles to lead all players in the game.
Sacramento State will next play at Eastern Washington on Saturday, Nov. 1. The game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. and can be head on KRJY 1240 AM and seen on www.bigskytv.org.
Notes: Washington continues to move up the records list at Sacramento State…he is now eighth in career yards (1,322), ninth in career receptions (87), tied for 10th in career receiving touchdowns (9), seventh in single-season yards (908) and fourth in single-season receptions (58)…Gordon and Buck each set career highs with 11 tackles, their career highs were both 10…the team’s failed two-point conversion extends a streak in which Sacramento State has not converted since Oct. 21, 2006…Mulitalo’s interception was the third of his career.