The Jacks turned in their most competitive performance of the season at Azusa Pacific on Saturday night, before falling 37-21.
After three straight blowouts to the start the season, Humboldt State battled the Cougars for much of the game thanks to a big night from their defense and special teams, and even pulled within a touchdown of the lead late in the game.
Offensively, however, the Jacks were no match for Azusa, and were out-gained in total yards, 445-189,
Humboldt State took the lead less than four minutes in, capping a five-play drive on an eight-yard scoring pass from quarterback Joey Sweeney to wide receiver Leo Wagner.
The visitors held the lead through the opening quarter, but three unanswered Azusa TDs in the second period gave the home team a 21-7 advantage at halftime.
The Jacks, however, came battling back, pulling within seven points when Ju’wan Murphy returned the opening kick off of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown.
After the Cougars re-established a two-TD advantage, the Jacks answered once again when quarterback Andrew Tingstad scored from one yard out to cap a five-play, 60-yard drive early in the fourth quarter.
That, however was as close as the Jacks would get, and two late scoring drives saw Azusa win comfortably in the end.
Murphy capped an outstanding day with two interceptions on defense, as the Jacks came away with six takeaways to make the game as competitive as it was.
The Jacks, who allowed nine sacks, had just nine first downs compared to the home team’s 26.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 4-1, while the Jacks fall to 0-4.
HSU hosts Simon Fraser in a homecoming game next week at the Redwood Bowl.