Brad Cornish’s career-long field goal before Saturday’s game against Weber State was nothing a kicker would brag about.
It was 25 yards, just five yards longer than an extra point.
Cornish nearly doubled that on his first kick of the day, a 48-yarder in the first quarter on his way to a school record five field goals as Sacramento State topped Weber State, 42-31, in their home opener at Hornet Stadium.
Four of Cornish’s makes were from 40 yards or longer, also a school record.
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“I wasn’t aware it was 48 yards,” said Cornish, a junior of his first make. “I was just seven yards back from the line scrimmage and kicked it through the uprights. But it did look a little shorter to be honest with you.”
Cornish also made kicks from 45, 43, 40 and 32 yards.
Cornish wasn’t even sure what his career long was before Saturday but knew “it wasn’t very long.”
The Hornets needed Cornish’s kicks to make up for drives that stalled and help hold off Weber State, which rallied from down 20-0 after the first quarter to within six at 30-24 with 14:08 left in the game.
But a 30-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Jordan Robinson and two Cornish field goals secured the win for the Hornets.
The Wildcats scored late after Cornish’s last kick put Sac State up 42-24.
“Brad did a great job of making those field goals,” said senior quarterback Garrett Safron. “I’m just glad we were able to set him up.”
The game looked like it would be lopsided in the first 15 minutes. The Hornets were piling on the points and the defense was making it tough on the Wildcats, forcing two fumbles that Sac State recovered.
Weber was able to come back, led by quarterback Billy Green, who threw for 377 yards and a touchdown.
But the Hornets made enough plays in the fourth quarter to thwart the rally.
“You have to tip your hat to Weber,” said Sac State coach Jody Sears. “They made some plays in the passing game and they wiggled their way back into it. But at the same time, these guys did a great job of making plays and stepping up when we had to.”
Sac State (2-1) got off to a good start behind senior quarterback Safron.
Safron ran for a 70-yard touchdown, matching his career long scoring run set a week earlier at Cal. Safron finished with 122 rushing yards and passed for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Safron said when the Wildcats (0-3) were down six in the fourth quarter, senior receiver DeAndre Carter implored the Hornets to put the game out of reach.
“We have a strong group of leaders who speak up,” Safron said. “And DeAndre brought everyone over and we went out there and scored.”
Safron’s top target in the passing game was wide receiver Nnamdi Agude, who caught seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Robinson ran for a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns, also a career best.
His second touchdown, a 30-yard dash up the middle of the field in the fourth quarter, was a career-long run.
“Before that we weren’t doing our jobs,” Robinson said. “We weren’t doing what we needed to get done and we just came together as an offensive unit and said we’ve got to do something about it and get it done. ... The offensive line opened up the hole and I’m grateful for it.”
Sears was 4-19 in two season as Weber State head coach. The first season came on an interim basis after head coach John L. Smith resigned to take the head job at Arkansas.
Sears was fired after going 2-10 in 2013. After the game, Sears said there was nothing personal for him about the game.
“It’s about these guys, it’s about Sacramento State,” Sears said. “It’s about Sacramento State football. It’s about these guys, these young men. ... This thing’s not about me.”