In a game that the Hornets came into without a win, turned the ball over three times and were down by 17 points going into the fourth quarter; Sacramento State won its first game (1-4, 1-1 Big Sky) by a final score of 41-38 against the Montana State Bobcats this past Saturday at Hornet Field.
The Hornets kept the game close in the first half, having the lead 7-3 after the first quarter and only trailing by three heading into halftime. Montana State scored first in the game on a 38-yard field goal from the true freshman kicker Gabe Peppenger. The score would remain 3-0 in favor if the Bobcats until junior wide receiver Isiah Hennie caught an 11-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Nate Ketteringham with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
Montana State would go on to score twice to pull ahead 17-7 with 10:01 reaming in the second quarter until Ketteringham threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end John McGill to bring the Hornets within three with 6:34 left in the first half. Both teams would score one more touchdown before heading into halftime and Bobcats had a three point lead at 24-21.
The Bobcats seemed to put the game away in the third quarter in which they forced Ketteringham to throw two interceptions, not allowing the Hornets to convert on a third down and Montana State scored two touchdowns while Sacramento State didn’t have a touchdown or a field goal. The score was 38-21 at the end of the third quarter and with a majority of fans leaving during and after the third quarter, the game seemed all but over. However, the Hornets still had three timeouts remaining and they began the final quarter with possession as they recovered a fumble on the 4-yard line with five seconds to go in the third quarter.
On a quick drive that only took three-and-a-half minutes, senior running back Jordan Robinson was able to score for the Hornet’s on a one-yard rush to bring them within 10. The Bobcats and Hornets would then exchange possessions, both having to punt on fourth down. Montana State had the ball once again with 8:35 remaining in the game, but after senior running back Chad Newell rushed for a first down, the Bobcats had to punt for the second possession in a row with a little under seven minutes remaining. The Hornets took advantage of keeping the Bobcats within 10 points and Ketteringham finished a two-and-a-half minute drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore Jaelin Ratliff.
Montana State would receive the ball with 4:28 left in the second half but after two first downs, the Bobcats were penalized twice for a false start and holding, which brought them to their own 24-yard line with a second down and 24 to go. The Grizzlies had to punt with 1:35 remaining and the Hornets once again took advantage of holding the Grizzlies to no points allowed.
The Hornets began their drive on their own 32-yard line and within one minute and fifteen seconds; Ketteringham threw another touchdown pass to Ratliff, this time for 15 yards, to give the Hornets a 41-38 lead with 15 seconds remaining in the game. Montana State attempted a quick drive down the field, but they were unsuccessful and the Sacramento State Hornet’s football team earned their first win of the season and defeated the Montana State Bobcats for the first time since 2005.
Ketteringham completed 34-of-54 pass attempts for 356 yards and threw for four touchdowns. Jordan Robinson had eight rush attempts for 60 yards and two rushing downtowns. Jaelin Ratliff led all receivers with seven receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns, both were the final two touchdowns of the game.
Sacramento State will play again at home to face the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (3-2, 2-0 Big Sky) this Saturday at 6 p.m. This will also be the homecoming game for the Hornets.