SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No. 7 Montana saw defeat snatched from the jaws of victory on Saturday night in a 31-24 overtime loss against No. 2 Sacramento State at Hornet Stadium.
The Hornets trailed for most of the game, but forced overtime on a 4-yard run by Asher O’Hara with 3:39 remaining. Sacramento State scored first in OT on a 7-yard run by Asher O’Hara. It was the Hornets’ first lead of the night.
Montana’s offense, quarterbacked by backup Kris Brown, was unable to score on its OT possession.
Griz QB Lucas Johnson was knocked out of the game when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Sacramento State’s Ayodele Adeoye early in the second quarter. Adeoye was called for targeting and was ejected. Brown came in and managed an offense that stayed ahead of the sticks, converted 10 third-down plays and didn’t turn the ball over. Brown also threw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Aaron Fontes.
But the story was Sac State’s ability to stay in the game and ultimately win it. The Hornets remained undefeated with a 7-0 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the Big Sky. The Grizzlies (5-2, 2-2 Big Sky) have now lost two games in a row.
Turning point: After pulling within 24-17 on a 27-yard field goal by Kyle Sentkowski, Sacramento State recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff after a line-drive boot ricocheted off a Montana up-man. The Hornets then converted a controversial fourth-down play on a pass from Jake Dunniway to Jared Gipson, who appeared to come down out of bounds. But the original call of a completion was upheld after review.
On the next play, O’Hara scored on a 4-yard run to tie it 24-24 with 3:39 left, ultimately sending the game to overtime.
Stat of the game: Hornets running back Cameron Skattebo rushed the ball only 13 times but amassed 111 yards, an average of 8.5 yards per carry. Scattebo’s tough running late in the game kept Sacramento State’s offense moving.
Grizzly game balls: Montana’s line (offense). UM didn’t produce many explosive plays but it stayed committed to the running game, which grinded out 200 yards and allowed the team to run 95 plays and move the chains consistently on third down. The Griz offensive line paved the way.
LB Levi Janacaro (defense). Montana’s defense had four takeaways, but Janacaro was the unit’s most consistent player, accumulating 12 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and two QB hurries.
What’s next: The Grizzlies go back on the road next week for a second consecutive high-profile matchup when they take on longtime Big Sky rival Weber State. The Wildcats (6-1, 3-1) were ranked No. 5 nationally this week but lost a 43-38 thriller at No. 3 Montana State.
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Montana Television Network.