BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Sacramento State's trip to the Rocky Mountains proved very rewarding.
Not only did the program earn a $460,000 paycheck, but the Hornets of the Big Sky Conference also pulled off an upset at a Pac-12 stadium for the second straight season and walk-on kicker Edgar Castaneda earned an education.
Castaneda nailed a 31-yard field goal as time expired in the Hornets' 30-28 stunner over Colorado. His first game-winner at any level earned the transfer from City College of San Francisco not only a hug from his coach, but also a scholarship.
Marshall Sperbeck made the announcement during his postgame speech to the Hornets (1-1), who upset Oregon State 29-28 in overtime in last year's opener.
The Buffaloes (0-2) were kicking themselves after falling to 1-2 against FCS-level opponents. They also lost to Montana State at home in 2006.
"It doesn't matter who it is. It's tough when you lose, period," said Buffaloes coach Jon Embree.
"I did not come into this game feeling like we were going to dominate. I came into this game thinking it was going to be a football game that we were going to have to fight and win," Embree said. "So that's how I coached all week and how they were talked to. No one thought we were just going to come in and win."
So, the Buffaloes didn't expect a cakewalk, but they didn't foresee losing to a walk-on, either.
Trailing 28-27, the Hornets got the ball at their own 15 with 2:26 left and marched 77 yards behind the arm of sophomore quarterback Garrett Safron, who threw for a career-best 312 yards.
"I gathered around the offense and told them, 'It's go time. We've got to win it right here, right now,'" Safron said. "That's what we did."
He completed four passes totaling 53 yards on the game-winning drive and his receivers drew pass interference penalties on two other throws, accounting for another 15 yards, as the Hornets reached the Colorado 17.
From there, they ran three times before calling timeout with 1 second left for Castaneda, who had hit from 28 and 31 yards earlier.