Idaho scores nine points in final seconds to sting Sacramento State in Big Sky opener

Xavier Mascareñas/

Four program-defining winning streaks came to an abrupt end for the Sacramento State football program Saturday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

No. 7 Idaho beat the No. 4 Hornets 36-27 in a Big Sky Conference opener in Moscow in the first meeting of FCS top-10 teams in the famed Kibbie Dome since 1994.

Ricardo Chavez kicked a 30-yard field, his third of the game, to give Idaho a 30-27 lead with one second remaining. The Hornets needed a miracle on the ensuing kickoff, but instead the Vandals punctuated their victory when Turon Ivy Jr. scooped up a fumbled lateral for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

The loss came one week after Sacramento State beat Stanford 30-23, taking some of the shine off a win that was considered perhaps the most significant victory in the 69-year history of the Hornets program.

The school-record runs that ended for the Hornets:

22-game regular-season winning streak

19-game Big Sky winning streak

12-game road winning streak against all opponents

15-game road winning streak against FCS teams

The one streak that remains intact is Sacramento State’s string of three consecutive Big Sky championships along with its goal of winning a fourth. The Hornets will return to Sacramento for a Sept. 30 home game against Northern Arizona, which won its first game Saturday with a stunning victory over No. 11 Montana.

“Credit to Idaho — they played well,” Sacramento State coach Andy Thompson said after the game. “We made some mistakes and we weren’t able to finish in the end. We’ve got to get back to work, and I know the guys are going to respond. It’s early in the season, and we’ll respond.”

Said Hornets linebacker Armon Bailey: “They had a better game than us. Just gotta bounce back next week.”

Kaiden Bennett threw for 236 yards for Sacramento State (3-1, 0-1 Big Sky). Bennett threw touchdown passes to Austin Jarrard and Marcus Fulcher, who also rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Gevani McCoy passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns for Idaho (3-1, 1-0), which rolled FBS-level Nevada 33-6 and led Cal 17-0 last week before falling 31-17. McCoy threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Ivy and a 60-yarder to Terez Traynor, both in the third quarter, giving the Vandals a 27-17 lead going into the fourth.

Anthony Woods rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown for Idaho.

The Hornets tied the game at 27 when Bennett found Fulcher for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 4:54 remaining, but the Vandals marched down the field to set up the go-ahead field goal by Chavez.