Sac State Wins Divorce Game

Didn't I Just Write This Article?

By Sam Weyen | 9-17-2023 04:19 PM PT

Photo by Stanford Athletics

On Saturday night, the Sacramento State Hornets flew into Stanford Stadium and stung the Cardinal where it hurt, clinching a 30-23 victory with a 49-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 left to play:

Troy Taylor's former program comes away with their 3rd ever (and last? with the league dissolving?) win against a Pac-12 team. Stanford becomes the first Power 5 program to lose to an FCS program this year, and will pay for the honor, sending $625,000 to Sac State as a part of their agreement to play. Add that to the ole ACC tab.

Despite starting with a promising 14-3 lead, Stanford faltered down the stretch due to a turnstile of an offensive line and quarterback play that's not special enough to overcome it. Both Ashton Daniels and Justin Lamson saw action on Saturday. Daniels started and went 4/7 for 69 yards, 1TD and 1INT. And for what it's worth his one touchdown (to Sophomore WR Elic Ayomanor) was FUN:

Lamson took over in the third and went 7/17 for 138 yards and an INT of his own. Stanford's RB duo also split time, with Casey Filkins rushing 13 times for 54 yards and EJ Smith rushing 9 times for 71 yards. TE Benjamin Yurosek recorded only 5 yards on a surprisingly limited number of targets. It's tough to win when your second best player is written out of the script.

Now for the spin:

First, this loss proves Troy Taylor is one hell of a recruiter. We must remember that Taylor recruited the team that beat Stanford—including QB Kaiden Bennett who diced the Cardinal secondary up for 279 yards. Sac State's ability to upset should give us more confidence in Taylor's upcoming recruiting class, featuring committments from six 4-star and twenty 3-star recruits for 2024. Often the "just wait till he has a class of his guys" argument falls flat with me, but Taylor seems to be worthy of that old aphorism. Unlike Colorado, we can't expedite the rebuild via the portal. Instead, we must be patient in awaiting the next class.

Second, Sac State was better than many give them credit for. For one, the hornets are now riding a 22-game regular-season win streak. Second, analytics like them. Jeff Sagarin has Sac State ranked above Stanford, Navy, Virginia, and plenty of other Power 5 programs. Conversely, Stanford won three games last year, lost key players to the portal and draft, and generously has, let's say, two NFL-caliber players on the team this year (Joshua Karty, Benjamin Yurosek, ...who else?). All to say, Stanford was/is worse than fans would like to admit, and thus the loss shouldn't be equally shocking as it is painful.

Up next for the Card is Arizona at home at 4PM on Pac-12 Network (where else?). Following their match with the Wildcats, Stanford will go on to face 7 currently-ranked teams and Kal. I cannot stress enough how easily I'll be purchasing those $14 tall beers at the Stadium on gameday.

All eyes on Big Game!

--Fear The Me.

TAGS: QB Kaiden Card RB Taylor Casey Filkins Joshua Karty Navy EJ Smith Lamson FCS Troy Taylor TE Benjamin Yurosek Justin Lamson State Jeff Sagarin Pac-12 Sophomore WR Elic Ayomanor NFL Troy Taylor's Daniels
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