Jordan West threw for 491 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington rallied to defeat Sacramento State 28-20 Saturday night at Hornet Stadium in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.
Sac State (1-3) led 20-7 at halftime, but Eastern Washington (2-2) scored 21 points in the third quarter.
The Eagles’ Kendrick Bourne caught seven passes for 204 yards, including a 98-yard touchdown to cut the Hornets’ lead to 20-14.
Sac State coach Jody Sears said he was proud of the team’s effort against the three-time defending Big Sky champion.
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“I’m extremely proud of the way they came (out) and bounced back from a poor performance from the week before,” Sears said. “I told them we will never settle for moral victory; there’s no such thing. There’s winners and losers, and we didn’t make enough plays to win.”
The Hornets got on the board first with a 26-yard field goal by Brad Cornish in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, West threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp, as West went 5 of 5 on the drive.
Kupp’s two scoring grabs moved him up as the all-time leader in career Big Sky touchdown receptions with 47.
Later in the quarter, the Hornets took a 10-7 lead on a 45-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Kniffin to Isiah Hennie.
The speedster ended the quarter with three receptions for 61 yards.
Sac State added two scores before halftime with a Jordan Robinson two-yard run and a Cornish 39-yard field goal to lead 20-7.
Eastern Washington came back with three touchdowns: the 98-yard pass from West to Bourne, a Jabari Wilson one-yard run on fourth-and-goal and a Kupp 22-yard reception.
For the Hornets, Kniffin went 2 of 8 in the third quarter after going 11 of 20 in the first half. The sophomore suffered a shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter, but Sears didn’t comment on its severity.
Robinson stood out for the Hornets, carrying 19 times for 104 yards and one touchdown. It was the running back’s second consecutive game rushing for at least 100 yards.
The junior said it was important to play four quarters against a team of Eastern Washington’s caliber.
“We’re a great team, offensively and defensively. We just have to play four quarters together,” Robinson said. “When we do, it’s lights out (for defenses).”
Eastern Washington’s elite offense had 233 total yards in the first half.
“All of us hate losing, but we’re going to come back next week ready to work,” linebacker Darnell Sankey said. “We have a next-game mentality … we just have to focus on Northern Colorado.”
The senior had 13 tackles following his school-record 27 against Weber State last week.
The Hornets will host Northern Colorado at 6:05 p.m. next Saturday.