College Sports

As Sacramento State football continues to roll, UC Davis’ playoff hopes take a big hit

The momentum is all school-color green and go for Sacramento State while any slight playoff hopes for UC Davis took another blast to the face mask Saturday night in Big Sky Conference football action.

The No. 7 Hornets rushed for a season-high 348 yards and kept a prolific running team in check in a 38-14 win over Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. With a fourth consecutive victory, Sac State is 6-2 overall and 4-0 in Big Sky play.

No. 22 UCD fell 36-20 to No. 4 Weber State at UC Davis Health Stadium in a game that never felt that close.

Weber State (6-2, 4-0 Big Sky) visits Sac State on Saturday. The Wildcats led the Aggies 16-7 at the half, yielding a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jaylin White but otherwise outgaining the Aggies 268-35 in the first two quarters and allowing two first downs.

Weber State outgained UCD 450-204, and Aggies quarterback Jake Maier was held below 200 yards passing (160) for just the fifth time in 33 career games, leading Weber State coach Jay Hill to say afterward, “Overall, a phenomenal road win.”

Sac State was expressing a similar sentiment in extending its longest winning streak since 1991. The Hornets aim to move to 5-0 at home when Weber State visits in what will mark the highest-ranked showdown in Hornet Stadium history.

Elijah Dotson rushed for a season-high 176 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, quarterback Kevin Thomson ran for 104, BJ Perkinson rushed for two touchdowns, the line allowed no sacks for the fourth time this season and the defense recorded six sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

Cal Poly (2-6, 1-4) came in averaging 259.9 rushing yards per game, but was held to 116. The Mustangs had beaten Sac State 10 of the previous 12 times. Former Folsom High School star Jake Jeffrey came off the bench to toss two touchdown passes for Cal Poly as he faced his former prep coaches in Troy Taylor and Kris Richardson.

Sac State had a season-best 32 first downs to Cal Poly’s 15 and had 519 yards to eclipse 500 for the fourth time this season. Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh was 18-3 all time against Sac State, including 12-1 during his Portland State career.

“We got our tails whipped tonight,” Walsh said.

Said Dotson of his big night, “You have to give all the credit to the offensive line because they were making the holes. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to get off the line of the scrimmage.”

Dotson on Monday was named the Big Sky ROOT SPORTS Offensive Player of the Week.

Twenty-four teams from the Football Championship Subdivision reach the playoffs, and both Sac State and Weber State appear to be on their way. Sac State has not reached the playoffs since 1988, in Division II. It last won a conference championship in 1995.

UCD’s only chance to return to the postseason is to win out and for other higher ranked teams to collapse. UCD faces Sac State at Hornet Stadium in a regular-season finale on Nov. 23.

UCD (4-5, 2-3) will have a bye week before playing at Portland State on Nov. 9 and Montana State at home Nov. 16.

Said UCD coach Dan Hawkins of Weber State, which along with UCD and Eastern Washington tied for the 2018 Big Sky title, “They’re a big, strong, fast, physical, well-coached team.”

He also praised his own team, one that entered the season ranked No. 4.

“I’ve never been prouder of these guys,” Hawkins said. “They battled and they stayed in, and they kept competing. People think Aggie Pride is all about winning. It’s not. It’s about how you live your life.”

Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.