FOOTBALL HANGS WITH MONTANA STATE, BUT FALLS IN THE END 27-17
BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Sacramento State offense unleashed an arsenal of trick plays. but it was the Montana State defense which lived up to its hype in a 27-17 Bobcat victory Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium.
With temperatures in the high 20s, the Hornets fell to 4-6 on the year and conclude Big Sky Conference play with a 4-4 mark. MSU improved to 7-3 overall and is now 5-2 heading into its season finale against Montana next weekend.
With the game tied 14-14 at the half, MSU took the lead for good on a 46-yard pass from Cody Kempt to Everett Gilbert 55 seconds into the third quarter. On the play, Gilbert caught a short pass on the right side of the field then cut back against the grain of the defense and broke down the left sideline for the score.
Sacramento State trimmed the deficit with a career-best 52-yard field goal from Chris Diniz with 10:11 to play in the period, but those points proved to be the only tallies scored by the Hornets in the half.
Montana State stretched its lead with a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth and put the game away with a 47-yarder with 2:22 showing.
Sacramento State scored the game's first points when Brandyn Reed caught a McLeod Bethel-Thompson pass at the 10-yard line and ran the rest of the way for a 39-yard score.
The Bobcats answered quickly with a 7-yard pass to Gilbert and took its first lead on a 1-yard run from Aaron Mason.
With seven seconds left in the half, the Hornets dug into their bag of tricks and pitched a ball to running back Jake Croxdale. The sophomore then connected with tight end Brian Heath in the back of the end zone to tie the score at halftime.
The play was one of several deceptions by the Hornets during the day. Croxale completed a pair of passes, including one to Bethel-Thompson.
As a team, the Hornet defense limited MSU to 349 total yards and forced two turnovers. Geoff Warner led the way with a career-high 11 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Christian Clark added 2.0 TFLs and raised his season sack total to 10.
Montana State, which entered the game as the stingiest team in the Big Sky against the rush, held Sacramento State to 35 yards on 30 attempts. The Bobcats also combined for six sacks, including four on the Hornets' final two offensive drives.
Bethel-Thompson completed 24-of-41 passes for a career high 269 yards and a TD but was also intercepted three times. Eleven different Hornet players caught a pass, led by Ron Richardson's five grabs for 44 yards. Croxdale (58 yards), Reed (55), and Dylan Lane (55) each had four receptions.
Freshman Jeff Badger made his first start of his career and rushed for 28 yards on nine carries. Croxdale picked up 26 on 11 attempts.
Sacramento State returns to action on Sat., Nov. 21, against UC Davis in the annual Causeway Classic. The game against the Aggies will kick off at 2:05 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Sacramento State Ticket Office or by calling (916) 278-4323.