Sacramento State nearly pulled a stunner in the oppressive heat last Friday night, causing Arizona State fans to boil over, especially those shelling out cash for believing in the 5-touchdown favorite betting line.
UC Davis a day later hung on by its chin straps in making a defensive stand on the final play to hold off the University of San Diego, not far from the cool surf and sand.
Such was the scene and setting during the second weekend of the young college football season, and it figures to remain unpredictable from here on out.
Favored by odds makers to get manhandled and lose by 36 points, Sac State put a considerable scare into Pac-12 member Arizona State, pulling to within 12-7 with five minutes to play before falling 19-7.
It was 105 degrees at kickoff, and imagine the simmering tempers in Tempe of those who lost their shorts and flip-flops at the gambling tables. Sac State’s defense showed promise in allowing one touchdown on a busted coverage play, even if the offense cooled after scoring a program-record 77 points in blasting past NAIA member Southern Oregon in an opener.
That’s the fewest points Sac State has allowed against an FBS opponent since the program started playing teams at that level in 2002. Hornets third-year starter Kevin Thomson passed for 263 yards and a touchdown on a career-best 32 completions.
“Our guys played hard,” Sac State coach Troy Taylor said after the game. “They hung in the game and had a chance to win it at the end. I’m proud of how our guys prepared and how they competed.”
On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Hornets (1-1) host a team their own size in fellow FCS member Northern Colorado of Greely (broadcast live locally on CW31 and ESPN1320 radio). Northern Colorado is a Big Sky Conference member, like Sac State, but this is a nonconference game. Yes, a quirky nature of college football scheduling.
Northern Colorado is a dangerous 0-2 - they’re all dangerous at this level, right? The Bears lost to upper-division teams San Jose State 35-18 and Washington State 59-17.
Sac State is 11-2 all time against Northern Colorado, 6-1 at home.
A week after a strong showing during a 27-13 loss at Cal, UCD (1-1) beat San Diego 38-35 when defensive back Devon King crashed into running back Emilio Martinez inches shy of the goal line at Torero Stadium as time ran out.
San Diego players were convinced it was a touchdown, though the ball rolled into the end zone and out the side. The Aggies believed otherwise. Same with the referees, who met for a moment to discuss.
“I knew I had to make a stop,” King said.
UCD snapped a 21-game home winning streak for San Diego, dating back to 2014. Jake Maeir passed for 359 yards and two touchdowns, Wes Preece had 118 yards receiving and Ulonzo Gilliam rushed for 135 yards for UCD, which hosts Lehigh (0-2) in its 7 p.m. home opener on Saturday (radio call on 1140 AM).
The only other time Lehigh played UCD was in a 1977 Division II playoff game at Davis, a 39-30 win for the Mountain Hawks, who went on to win it all. Eventual NFL quarterback Mike Moroski had four touchdown passes in that game for UCD.
King earned co-Big Sky ROOT SPORTS Defensive Player of the Week honors. He had seven tackles and an interception and a stop of a lifetime.
Bailey a baller
True freshman linebacker Levelle Bailey from Burbank High School had seven tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss for Fresno State in a 38-35 loss at Minnesota.
Fresno State hosts Sac State on Sept. 21.
American River College beat Sacramento City 27-0 in a junior college opener at Hughes Stadium, the 10th consecutive time the Beavers have bested their rival.
Quarterbacks Marco Baldacchino and Grant Patterson led the way with three total touchdown passes, two going to receiver Markel Quinney, and Isaiah Gomez had two field goals.
Ranked third in Northern California by the JC Athletic Bureau and sixth in the state, ARC hosts preseason No. 1 Laney of Oakland on Saturday at 1 p.m. Along for the ride will be the popular Netflix documentary “Last Chance U” to detail every bit of Laney’s season.
Laney lost its opener to Modesto 33-20.. The new No. 1 is Ventura College, led by one-time Sac State coach Steve Mooshagian.
San Francisco held off Sierra in Rocklin 37-29 after storming to a 30-0 halftime lead.
For Sierra, Preston Eklund passed for 202 yards and a touchdown to Matt Smart, and Christian Simmons ran for two scores in his first game action since suffering a broken leg as a senior at Capital Christian High School in 2017.
No. 24 Sierra plays at No. 10 Modesto on Saturday.