FOOTBALL PICKS UP FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON WITH 31-17 TRIUMPH OVER WESTERN OREGON
Zach Nash (left) had four tackles-for-loss and Evander Wilkins
(2) grabbed his first career interception.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Bryan Hilliard returned to Hornet Stadium and rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns to lead Sacramento State to a 31-17 victory over Western Oregon on Saturday night.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 1-1 on the season. Western Oregon, which competes at the Div. II level, dropped to 1-1.
Hilliard, who missed all of last season following surgeries on both shoulders, scored form 2 yards out in the first quarter and added a 5-yard TD run in the second to put Sacramento State up 14-0. The junior began the game sharing time in the backfield with Curtis Shaw, but became the primary ball carrier after Shaw suffered a concussion in the second quarter. Hilliard finished the game with 23 attempts en route to his ninth 100-yard game of his career.
"It was great to get Bryan back out there," Sacramento State head coach Marshall Sperbeck said. "You know you can trust him in the fourth quarter and he can really wear a team down."
After the Wolves answered with a 20-yard pass from AJ Robinson to Demario Ballad to cut their deficit in half, quarterback Jeff Fleming put the team up 21-7 with an 8-yard run up the middle midway through the second quarter.
Fleming then extended the team's lead in the second half, finding Chase Deadder for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the left side of the end zone to make the score, 28-10.
WOU pulled back within 11 on the final play of the third quarter when Robinson hit Ore for a 52-yard touchdown down the middle of the field. The final points of the game came on a 27-yard field goal from Chris Diniz.
As a team, Sacramento State outgained Western Oregon, 391-340. The Hornets also held an edge in time of possession (31:13-28:47).
Individually, Fleming completed 10-of-22 passes for 209 yards in his debut. The junior, who has only been with the team for two weeks, also threw one touchdown and two interceptions.
Freshman Morris Norrise led the team with four receptions for 41 yards. Deadder had two catches for 65 yards.
Shaw caught a 49-yard pass on the team's first play from scrimmage and also rushed for 24 yards before leaving the contest.
Defensively, Peter Buck was credited with a team-high six stops. Zack Nash added four tackles-for-loss, including three sacks. Junior Evander Wilkins and Buck also intercepted a pass.
Robinson finished 17-of-40 for 266 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Ballard led all players with eight grabs for 111 yards.
Sacramento State continues its homestand on Saturday, Sept. 18, when it welcomes Weber State at 6:05 p.m. in the team's Big Sky opener.
NOTES: Fleming's start at QB meant the Hornets have started three different signal callers in their last three games dating back to last season…John Hendershott played for the first time this season and caught one pass for 15 yards…Hilliard tied Rob Harrison for fifth in school history with nine 100-yard games…Wilkins finished with 94 total return yards on two kick returns and an interception…Jarred Pereira injured his knee in the first half and did not return.