Story and photo courtesy of Sacramento State Athletics
BOULDER, Colo. - Edgar Castaneda's 30-yard field goal as time expired provided Sacramento State with a 30-28 victory over Colorado, Saturday afternoon in front of 46,843 at Folsom Field.
The victory evened the Hornets' record at 1-1 and gave the team its second win over a Pac-12 school in as many years. Colorado fell to 0-2.
Trailing, 28-27, Sacramento State took over on their own 15-yard line with 2:26 remaining. Quarterback Garrett Safron connected with DeAndre Carter and Morris Norrise for gains of 12 and 10 yards, respectively, on the first two plays of the drive. Following a pass interference call, Safron again hit Carter for a 20-yard pick-up to take the ball to the Colorado 34. A second PI call was followed by a gain of 11 by Norrise. The Hornets then rushed three times leaving Castaneda with his first game-winning attempt of his career at any level.
Safron finished the day 25-of-37 for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first Hornet quarterback to record consecutive 300-yard games since Ryan Leadingham against Weber State (305) and Humboldt State (324) in 2002.
For the second straight week, three Hornet receivers had at least 70 receiving yards. The trio was led at Colorado by Norrise who had seven grabs for 104 yards. Carter had a career-high six receptions for 79 yards and tight end Chris Broadnax caught five passes for 92 yards — both career highs.
Colorado stormed out of the gates, needing just 72 seconds to score the game's first points as Christian Powell rumbled 75 yards for a touchdown. After stopping the Sacramento State offense, the Buffaloes used eight plays to travel 72 yards capped by a 1-yard run from Powell to take a 14-0 lead with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter.
From that point, the Hornets settled down to tie the game 14-14. Behind Safron, who completed 10 of his first 11 pass attempts, Sacramento State orchestrated scoring drives of 75 and 57 yards. The first drive ended with an 11-yard pass from Safron to Carter who caught the ball on the 3 and then dragged the defender into the end zone.
The second scoring drive featured catches of 15 yards by Broadnax and 16 from Carter to take the ball to the 18-yard line. Senior A.J. Ellis took it the rest of the way with three carries, including a 2-yard touchdown.
Momentum stayed with Sacramento State as the defense forced another punt which landed in the end zone for a touchback. Safron completed all three of his pass attempts during the ensuing series capped by a 35-yard pass to Broadnax to give the team a 21-14 lead. On the play, Safron rolled to his right and found the wide open tight end on the left side of the field for his first career TD reception.
Colorado tied the game, 21-21, with 2:44 left on a 9-yard pass from Jordan Webb to tight end Kyle Slavin. The Hornets appeared to force a 3-and-out to start the drive but were flagged on a controversial pass interference call against the sideline. The key play of the drive was a 40-yard reception from tight end Nick Kasa who took advantage of broken coverage in the secondary.
Sacramento State took a 24-21 lead into halftime after Castaneda converted a 28-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining in the period.
CU struck first in the second half, taking their opening drive 65 yards for a touchdown to give the Buffs a 28-24 lead midway through the third period. Colorado converted four third downs during the series, including a 3rd-and 16 and a 3rd-and-18. A pass interference call in the end zone place the ball on the 2-yard line before Powell scored his third TD of the game on 3rd-and-goal from the 1.
Castaneda's second field goal of the game — this one from 31 yards — pulled the Hornets within one at 28-27 with 11:57 left in the game.
Sacramento State outgained the Buffaloes, 476-346. The Hornets also controlled the ball for 31:50 and did not commit a turnover.
Defensively, Robert Beale and Henry Fernandez each set career highs with 10 tackles apiece. Ryan McMahon added nine and Todd Davis contributed seven. The team also had three sacks and six tackles-for-loss.
Powell rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns to lead Colorado. Jordan Webb finished 12-of-24 for 160 yards with a touchdown.
Sacramento State will play its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 15, against Northern Colorado. Kickoff for the non-league game will be at 2:05 p.m.