FOOTBALL FALLS IN SEASON OPENER AT STANFORD
Chris Diniz tied his career high with a 52-yard field goal.
STANFORD, Calif. — Andrew Luck completed 17-of-23 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns to lead Stanford to a 52-17 victory on Saturday in front of 30,626 at Stanford Stadium.
The Cardinal (1-0) took a quick 14-0 lead with two long drives. The first used seven plays to cover 75 yards and was capped by a 1-yard run from Jeremy Stewart. The second ended with an 81-yard strike down the middle of the field from Luck to Doug Baldwin.
The Hornets (0-1) cut the lead in half with 3:23 left the opening quarter when Kyle Monson took a punt at his own 30-yard line, made the first two defenders miss and dashed 70 yards up the right sideline for a TD. Monson became the first Sacramento State player to return a punt for a touchdown since Fred Amey against Saint Mary's on Sept. 6, 2003.
Stanford answered with three more touchdowns and a field goal in the first half and took a 38-7 lead into halftime.
The Hornets showed their never-say-die attitude in the second half, coming out of the locker room to score a 2-yard touchdown on a run around the left end by Curtis Shaw. After Stanford matched the score, Chris Diniz connected on a career-long tying 52-yard field goal to make the score 45-17 with 11:56 to play in the game.
As a team, Sacramento State amassed 167 yards of total offense compared to 529 by the Cardinal. McLeod Bethel Thompson completed 9-of-15 passes for 69 yards before exiting the game at halftime. Junior Jeff Fleming, who joined the team on Monday, was 6-of-12 for 44 yards in the second half.
Shaw was the leading rusher with 30 yards on 12 carries. Bryan Hiliard returned from a year off to compile 28 yards on eight attempts. Chase Deadder. who also missed all of last season, led the team with four catches for 26 yards. Redshirt freshman Morris Norrise caught three balls for 27 yards.
Baldwin was the leading receiver in the game with four catches for 111 yards. Backup QB Alex Loukas rushed for 57 yards — 48 of which came on one run — to pace the team.
Defensively, Zach Schrader led all players with nine stops. Dana Willis, who was starting in place of the injured Deionte Gordon, tallied seven stops. Marquese Smith had the lone sack for the team and forced a fumble on the play to set up the Hornet touchdown.
Sacramento State returns home to face Western Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 6:05 p.m.