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Hornets surprise Wildcats with 24-17 upset

In their first Big Sky Conference game of the season, the Sacramento State football team upset No. 20-ranked Weber State 24-17 in front of 7,000 fans at Hornet Stadium on Saturday night.

The Hornets improve to a 2-1 overall record and 1-0 in Big Sky Conference play for the season. The win on Saturday night puts them in a first-place tie with Eastern Washington University in the Big Sky Conference standings.

The Hornets’ ground game was impressive, totaling 245 yards for the night against the Wildcats’ 102 yards. Running back Bryan Hilliard notched his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 136 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown made in the last minutes of the game. Running back Sam McCowan also contributed 59 yards.

New quarterback Jeff Fleming was effective as well, throwing for 164 yards and connecting on two touchdowns to wide receivers Morris Norrise and Brett Willis, both in the second quarter.

The Hornets defense was all business, holding Weber State to 17 points, which is quite impressive considering the Wildcats scored 88 points in their first two games of the season.

Although Weber State beat the Hornets in reception yardage (250-164) and had receivers Kamana Kaimikaua and Josh Booker scoring crucial touchdowns to stay in the hunt, in the end it was the Bryan Hilliard touchdown with 3:23 remaining that put the Hornets over the top for the win.

The Hornets next travel to Missoula, Mont., to face the Grizzlies (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big Sky), and return to Hornet Stadium for an Oct. 2 matchup against Montana State.


 Sac State kicker/punter Chris Diniz (#46) kicks off.

 Running back Bryan Hilliard (#34) is chased by defenders as he runs downfield.

 Sac State quarterback Jeff Fleming eyes the defensive formation before the snap.

 Kicker/Punter Augie Heath (#38)

 Sac State Defensive Coordinator Anthony Parker keeps the defense fired up in the second half.

  Quarterback Jeff Fleming (#18) hands off to running back Bryan Hilliard (#34).

 Hornets fans show their team spirit.

 Hornets quarterback Jeff Fleming (#18)

 Sac State mascot Herky entertains fans while riding a unicycle.

 Fleming struggles to break free from Wildcats middle linebacker Anthony Morales.

 Hornet Stadium

 Defensive lineman Matt Lawrence (#62) talks with his counterpart on the line, Alesana Laban (#99). 

 Sacramento State Head Coach Marshall Sperbeck

  Sac State Marching Band drum major leads the band at halftime.

 Sac State defensive back Marquese Smith (#37) tackles wide receiver Mike Phillips (#1).

 Kassie Laythan of Sacramento holds her daughter Avary at halftime.

 A Sac State defender makes a flying tackle on Wildcats running back Bo Bolen (#8).

 Kicker/Punter Augie Heath (#38) warms up before a punt.

 The Sacramento State Hornet Girlz Dance Team performs at halftime.

 Fleming throws as the Weber State defense closes in.

 Hornets celebrate in front of fans in the bleachers after their 24-17 win.


Photos: Steven Chea

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