Vincent Johnson took the game’s opening handoff and ran 75 yards to give No. 11 MSU Texas a lead it would never surrender in Saturday’s 55-12 win over Humboldt State at Memorial Stadium.
The Lumberjacks answered Johnson’s touchdown scamper with a 13-play, 50-yard drive capped by a Jose Morales field goal, but the Green and Gold offense was unable to score against the Mustangs’ defense.
“The result definitely wasn’t what we expected, but we have some things to build on,” HSU head coach Damaro Wheeler said “Nobody panicked after the opening touchdown, and they were anxious to get back out on the field.”
The Mustangs scored touchdowns on their first six drives of the game, with quarterback Layton Rabb directing the high-powered offensive attack.
Rabb connected with four different receivers on his five first-half touchdown passes and he finished the game with 273 passing yards.
Trailing 48-3 with the Mustangs driving, HSU got a lift from its defense.
Backup quarterback Zach Purcell was picked off by defensive back Adam Herrera who took the ball 44 yards for the pick six.
The Mustangs led 42-9 at the interval, and Purcell threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second half to seal the victory.
MSU Texas ended the game with 593 yards of total offense and averaged 9.9 yards per play.
Morales split the uprights from 40 yards out to end the scoring for the North Coast squad with 1:10 to go.
The senior kicker connected on 2-of-3 attempts, hitting from 33 and 40 yards, and missing one from 33 yards.
Joseph Sweeney guided the Jacks passing attack and was 18-of-26 for 159 yards in his first career start.
He weathered the Mustang pass rush that brought him to the turf three times. Alex Larson was Sweeney’s favorite target and they connected three times for a game-high 55 yards.
Another offensive standout for the Jacks was newcomer Tyree Marzetta, who ran the ball eight times for 58 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Wheeler. “The bye week comes at the perfect time. We need to focus on the details and tonight’s game was an eye-opener for us.”
HSU has a bye next weekend before opening conference play at Central Washington on Sept. 15.