Humboldt State was no match for the highly-ranked Central Washington Wildcats on Saturday, falling 49-0 on the road in their Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener.
It was the Jacks’ second straight loss to start the season, and their first shutout since 2007.
HSU head coach Damaro Wheeler tried three different quarterbacks in an attempt to get something going, with little success, while defensively the Jacks were dominated all game, giving up 28 first downs.
“We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Wheeler said. “We have to find a way to finish in every aspect.”
Central Washington (2-1) led 28-0 before halftime, with bruising running back Cedric Cooper leading the way.
On the second drive alone, Cooper rumbled for 45 yards on four straight handoffs. He finished with 178 yards on 11 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Jacks came closest to scoring in the third quarter, driving deep into Central Washington territory and attempting a 29-yard field goal. But kicker Jose Morales’ attempt was blocked by Tyler Hasty and returned 79 yards for a touchdown to stretch the Wildcats’ advantage to 42-0.
A three-quarterback rotation featuring starter Joey Sweeney and back-ups Sohail Moshini and Andrew Tingstad failed to give the Jacks’ offense a boost.
The trio combined to go 10-of-28 passing (35.7 percent) for 116 yards and an interception.
“All three quarterbacks competed and didn’t give up,” said Wheeler.
On the flip side, Reilly Hennessey directed the Wildcat passing attack effectively, completing 9-of-17 passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns.
Hennessey was picked off by Moses Finau on the Wildcats’ first drive of the second quarter.
Top defensive performers for the Jacks included Adam Herrera and Isaiah Sires-Wils, who finished with 10 and nine tackles, respectively.
Teammate Latufeao Kolopeaua added a sack.
The Jacks return to the Redwood Bowl for next week’s home opener against Western Oregon.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.