But the Beavers were stunned at home in their Sept. 3 opener by the Big Sky’s Sacramento State Hornets, who went for two points after a touchdown in overtime for the final 29-28 edge.
Oregon State had not lost a home opener since 2001.
The win put Hornets’ football in headlines in newspapers and mainstream news sites, something Sacramento State defensive lineman Matthew Lawrence had rarely seen but could certainly get used to.
“It was pretty crazy, almost surreal,” said Lawrence, who hails from Patterson. “We knew (Oregon State) was going to be tough. But once the game started, it felt no different than facing any other team.”
Lawrence, a 2008 graduated of Central Catholic High in Modesto, added that it’s not every day a school achieves the biggest win in the history of its program.
“When we won, I crumbled on the field,” Lawrence said. “I turned and saw my dad, who was one of the first people sprinting out onto the field (from the bleachers). He embraced me.
“I was proud to be wearing the green and gold.”
Lawrence isn’t the only current Hornets’ player with local ties. Crows Landing’s Clay DePauw, another 2008 Central Catholic graduate, helps anchor the team’s offensive line, starting at the left guard position.
Sacramento State, which went 6-5 last season in the Big Sky, had never defeated a team from the upper division Pac-10, now the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah this season. Last season the Hornets fell 52-17 in its opener against Stanford.
“I feel like we have something special with this team this year,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence began to get considerable playing time for Sacramento State as a sophomore. In 2010, he appeared in all 11 games, starting eight at defensive tackle. He tallied 20 total tackles, including 10 solos last season.
The 5-10, 265-pound lineman recently accepted a full-scholarship that will allow him to continue playing football at Sacramento State.
“I had to work my way up and be patient,” Lawrence said. “I’ve taken it one play at a time, one game at a time.”
Going into the season opener with Oregon State, the Hornets had a record of complete futility against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)/ Division I-A opponents, going 0-10.
After beating a FBS team that has been to four bowl games in the last six years, this is a victory the Hornets can grow upon, Lawrence said.
Still, he added that the Hornets are putting the victory behind them and preparing for their next game.
“It was a good win. But you can never look too far ahead, or relish in a win for too long,” Lawrence said. “We still have almost our whole season ahead of us.
“We plan on trying as hard as we can to win each Saturday.”