Sacramento State has been on the short end of so many heartbreaking defeats this season.
But on the road Saturday, it was Portland State that was left reeling, thanks to another record-setting performance by Sac State junior quarterback Garrett Safron.
The Hornets (5-6, 4-3 Big Sky Conference) drove 85 yards to score with 30 seconds left on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Safron to Cole Hikutini to stun the Vikings 43-42.
Hornets defensive back Osagie Odiase intercepted a pass to preserve the most improbable victory.
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The final drive, which started with 1:39 remaining, was set up when the Hornets’ Antonio Hayes and Todd Davis stopped Portland State’s D.J. Adams on a fourth and inches at the Sac State 14-yard line. That was impressive, considering Adams rushed for 249 yards and five touchdowns to that point and the Vikings had 713 total yards.
Safron, who completed 34 of 50 passes for four touchdowns, threw for a school-record 554 yards – breaking his record of 412 set two weeks before – and rushed for 42 yards and two scores on eight carries.
Three Hornets receivers had more than 100 receiving yards. Shane Harrison had nine catches for 138 yards, including two catches for 45 yards on the winning drive. Morris Norrise had seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, and DeAndre Carter five catches for 133 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown.
A 66-yard touchdown run by Adams extended Portland State’s lead to 42-31 with 9:25 to play, but the Hornets closed to 42-37 on Safron’s 26-yard scoring strike to Austin Dotson.
Portland State (6-5, 3-4) tried to run out the clock, driving 60 yards in 14 plays, using nearly six minutes and forcing the Hornets to use all three of their timeouts before Antonio Hayes and Todd Davis stopp Adams for no gain on fourth and 1 at the Sac State 15.
On the winning drive, Safron completed 6 of 8 passes to four receivers. Before Safron’s winning touchdown, the Hornets only other lead was 3-0 on Brad Cornish’s 24-yard field goal early in the first quarter.
Sac State, which won for the third time on the road, had lost overtime games to Southern Utah and Montana and blew a 17-point third-quarter lead in falling to Northern Arizona 39-38, all at home.
The Hornets close out the season at home Saturday against UC Davis in the 60th Causeway Classic.