Patrick Dean was a dead man walking even though he was running as fast as he could. Weber State wide receiver Jacob Sharp had a step on the Sacramento State cornerback and Bronson Barron’s pass was on the money. Dean’s crime was biting on Sharp’s inside move, allowing Sharp to go free.
Dean was guilty of being deceived by Sharp, who went from making an inside move to turning outside and running away. Dean counted on his speed to catch Sharp. After all, Dean competed in track at Palomares High School in Pomona and had a personal best of 10.71 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
“I know I’m fast, so 99 percent of the time I can catch up,” Dean explained Wednesday as the Hornets prepared for Friday’s game at Portland State. Sacramento State is rolling at 6-0 in the Big Sky and 9-0 overall after a 33-30 victory in Ogden, Utah. Portland State is 3-3 and 4-5. The Vikings were no match for Weber State on Oct. 15 in a 42-7 loss at home.
Barron completed 21 of 31 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns against Portland State. He was not as efficient against Sacramento State, completing 15 of 38 passes for 154 yards and two scores. His best throw of the day came in the third quarter with Sharp, a graduate of Bethel High in Vallejo, going against Dean.
Weber State trailed 23-14 and faced third-and-10 at its own 19-yard line with six minutes to go in the quarter. Barron took the snap with the intent of getting more than a first down for the Wildcats. Barron maneuvered in the pocket as he kept his eyes locked on Sharp and let the ball fly.
Sharp had an opportunity to redeem himself after a 5-yard pass on first down went through his hands and off his chest. Barron’s third-down heave traveled 50 yards and reached Sharp at the Sacramento State 36. The ball went off Sharp’s hands, however, and stuck in Dean’s right elbow.
Dean managed to keep the ball tucked away as he tumbled over Sharp, landed on his head and spun on it as if he were breakdancing. “I didn’t know I had the ball until I got to the ground,” he said. “I don’t know why I was spinning. I was in kind of an awkward position. I was just trying to get up.”
His interception kept momentum on Sacramento State’s side and the Hornets made the most of the turnover. Sacramento State drove 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown to extend its lead to 30-14. The drive drained nearly six minutes off the clock and culminated on the first play of the fourth quarter when quarterback Asher O’Hara scored on a 1-yard run.
O’Hara can thank Dean for his second rushing touchdown of the game and his 16th this season. O’Hara and Montana State’s Sean Chambers share the Big Sky lead in rushing touchdowns. They are tied for second in the FCS behind North Alabama’s ShunDerrick Powell with 17.
There is no statistic for an assist in college football, but O’Hara would credit Dean with one after Dean picked the perfect time to get his first interception in two seasons with the Hornets and then putting his own spin on it.