FOOTBALL STUMBLES AT SOUTHERN UTAH
CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Sacramento State offense, which fired on all cylinders a week ago at Oregon State, was never able to get going in a 35-14 loss at Southern Utah on Saturday at Eccles Coliseum.
The loss dropped the 12th-ranked Hornets to 1-1 on the year. The Thunderbirds, who were preseason favorites to repeat as Great West Conference champions, improved to 1-1.
The Hornets built a 14-10 lead late in the first half behind a pair of touchdowns from running back Bryan Hilliard. However, Southern Utah took the lead when Austin Minefee returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and Colton Cook added a 36-yard field goal in the final seconds of the half.
Minefee added to the Thunderbird advantage in the third quarter with a 1-yard run and the team tacked on a two-point conversion to take a 28-14 lead.
Sacramento State had a couple of chances in the fourth quarter to get back into the game but could not convert. The best opportunity came midway through the fourth quarter when Jeff Fleming rolled out on a 4th-and-goal play from the 2-yard line but had his pass deflect off the hands of tight end Chris Broadnax.
The Thunderbirds were able to seal the victory when Deckar Alexander scored his second touchdown of the game with 1:40 remaining.
As a team, Southern Utah outgained the Hornets, 399-286. The T-Birds were fairly balanced as quarterback Brad Sorenson threw for 271 yards and the team combined to rush for 128. Conversely, the Hornets struggled through the air, completing just 10-of-27 passes for 78 yards. Hilliard led the ground attack with 101 yards and the team amassed 208.
Defensively, Ryan McMahon, Todd Davis and Joe Larche each had nine tackles. McMahon also had two tackles-for-loss, which led the team.
Blake Fenn (12) and Chad Hansen (10) each had double digit tackles for the Thunderbirds.
Sacramento State will shift its attention to Big Sky Conference play next Saturday when the team travels to Weber State for a game against the Wildcats.