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.
"I was relaxed; it was just another kick," Castaneda said. "I was calm."
Safron sure wasn't.
"I was getting hyped, holding everyone's hand on the sideline," he said. "It was the greatest feeling."
Morris Norrise caught seven passes for 104 yards for Sacramento State, which piled up 466 yards of offense against a team that was missing two starters and lost star linebacker Doug Rippy (left knee) in the first half.
Norrise's biggest contribution, though, was knocking away a pass that was about to get picked off by Parker Orms on the game-winning drive.
Hornets tight end Chris Broadnax had five catches for 92 yards, including a 35-yard TD after collecting just three receptions for 29 yards in his previous 12 games.
In his first start, Colorado fullback Christian Powell ran for 147 yards and tied a school freshman record with three touchdowns. He broke free for a 64-yard score on his second carry and added a pair of 1-yard scores.
He was stuffed for a 3-yard loss on his final carry, however, while the Buffs were trying to run out the clock.
Powell's third TD put the Buffs ahead 28-24 in the third quarter, and Castaneda's 31-yarder pulled the Hornets to 28-27 with 12 minutes left. The teams exchanged punts on the next five possessions before the Hornets got one last chance and went 77 yards in nine plays.
"This is not a game they were supposed to win," Buffaloes defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe said. "And for them to go out there and do what they did to us today is embarrassing."
Embree promised changes, and one could come at quarterback, where Webb was 12 of 24 for 160 yards. Backup Connor Wood threw a 28-yard screen pass on his only snap.
"Everything will be re-evaluated," Embree promised. "Everything will, all positions."
Reach out to AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton