FOOTBALL PICKS UP 15-13 ROAD WIN AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
CHENEY, Wash. — There’s no place like Woodward Field for the Sacramento State football team. The Hornets recorded their fourth win all-time at Eastern Washington’s home field with a 15-13 victory on Saturday.
Sacramento State used a balanced offensive attack which featured 211 yards passing from Jason Smith, 114 receiving yards from Tony Washington and a combined 155 rushing yards from Jake Croxdale and Bryan Hilliard. The Hornet defense also did its part, sacking EWU quarterback Matt Nichols five times, holding the Eagles to minus-31 rushing yards and intercepting two passes.
With the win, Sacramento State improved to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in Big Sky Conference games. The win total eclipsed last season’s mark of three and gave the team its fourth win in its last five trips to EWU. The Eagles fell to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in league games.
Sacramento State took its opening drive of the game down the field for a 13-play, 80-yard drive which ended with a 2-yard TD from Hilliard. However, Juan Gamboa’s PAT was blocked starting a long day for the senior kicker. Both teams continued to have scoring opportunities in the opening quarter but each side missed a field goal. The Eagles took their first lead of the game with 4:07 to play in the opening half when Toke Kefu scored from 1-yard out.
After Eastern intercepted Duncan White (who was on in place of a shaken up Jason Smith), the Eagles drove to the 7-yard line only to have Deionte Gordon make a diving interception in the end zone in the closing seconds of the half to make the score 7-6 at the break.
The third quarter belonged to the Hornets who held the ball for 9:06 of the period and gained 107 yards compared to EWU’s 25. Tony Washington scored on a 12-yard pass from Smith with 8:08 to play. The team then moved the ball inside the 10-yard line during the final series of the quarter setting up a 23-yard field goal from Gamboa which sailed through the uprights 16 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Eastern cut its deficit to 15-13 with a 15-yard pass to Brynsen Brown, but the two-point conversion attempt was picked off by Peter Buck in the end zone to preserve the Hornets’ lead. Sacramento State was able to drain the clock down to 2:11 before punting to the Eagles who had one timeout remaining. After moving the ball to the 40-yard line, Nichols was intercepted by Robert Virgil to seal the game for the Hornets.
Smith finished the day 18-of-27 for 211 yards and a touchdown while Washington caugt 10 balls for 114 yards and a TD. Croxdale rushed the ball 28 times for 91 yards, and Hilliard finished with 14 rushes for 64 yards. Punter Oscar De Alba punted four times for an average of 48.2 yards, including pinning EWU inside the 20 on two occasions. That included a 50-yarder with 2:11 to play where the Eagles had to start on their own 17-yard line.
Defensively, Sacramento State’s Peter Buck finished with a team-high eight tacksles, while Zack Nash, Greg Johnson, Kevin Moore, Matt Evans and Christian Clark each figured in on sacks. Evans led all players with 1.5 sacks. The Hornets had five sacks while Eastern Washington finished with zero.
Sacramento State will next travel to UC Davis for the Causeway Classic on Sat., Nov. 8, at 2:05 p.m. The game can be heard on KRJY 1240 AM and seen on Comcast SportsNet.