STANFORD, Calif. -- Kaiden Bennett narrowly avoided a sack to throw a 49-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 to play and Sacramento State beat former coach Troy Taylor's Stanford team 30-23 on Saturday night for the Hornets' third win ever against a Pac-12 school.
"It's awesome that we got this opportunity," said first-year Hornets coach Andy Thompson, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Taylor left to take the job at Stanford. "We got to come over here, I think we collected a little bit of money too and got a win. ... They should be very proud of how they played against a really good opponent."
It took a big play late to get the win.
Bennett flung a short pass to Marcus Fulcher just before his knee touched the ground, and Fulcher did the rest from there to score for the Hornets (3-0) and spoil his former coach's home debut.
"He was doing what he was supposed to do on his part, and he was where he needed to be on that play," Bennett said. "I looked up and saw him. Good job by him. ... I knew once he broke that first tackle he was off. He has that juice."
Taylor took over the Cardinal (1-2) after going 30-8 in four seasons and leading the Hornets to their first berth in the FCS quarterfinals in school history last season.
Many of his former players are still at Sacramento State, including Bennett, who threw for 279 yards, ran for 100 and had a touchdown pass and run.
"I have a lot of love and respect for Coach T," Bennett said, "for what he's been able to do for my career and stuff. Just for me as a person, I give him a lot of love and respect for that."
Sacramento State won its school-record 22nd straight regular-season game at Taylor's expense, sending Stanford to its second loss ever to an FCS school. The Cardinal lost to UC Davis in 2005.
"It's very familiar faces and good coaches and really good players," Taylor said of his former team. "Once the game starts, you're just really competing."
The Hornets answered with a 44-yarder from Zach Schreiner to tie the game with 4:13 to play. They then forced a punt to set up the winning score.
Stanford scored touchdowns on its first two possessions to take a 14-3 lead and appeared in position to take control after recovering a surprise onside kick. The Cardinal drove into the red zone before Daniels threw a deflected pass that Caleb Nelson intercepted in the end zone.
The Hornets then put together back-to-back long touchdown drives and took a 17-14 lead following Bennett's 1-yard keeper with 35 seconds left in the half.
"We obviously have a ton of improvement to make and we have a long year to do it," Taylor said. "It's back to work and continue to chip away and continue to build."