No one can say Drew Amerson dropped the ball this time. Well, he did drop one.
“And I was criticized at halftime,” Amerson said.
Still, Amerson, a freshman receiver, had a career day for Cal State Northridge in a 30-28 victory over Weber State on Saturday at North Campus Stadium.
Amerson, benched by Interim Coach Jeff Kearin three weeks ago after dropping three passes against Montana, had a career-high 15 receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown against Weber State. The Northridge record is 20 by Tim Hilton in 1995.
Amerson said 15 catches are the most he’s had in his life.
“I’ve been waiting to have a game like that since I came here,” Amerson said.
Amerson, however, did more than catch. He had three kickoff returns for 84 yards, including a 44-yard return, and a bone-jarring block in the fourth quarter that electrified the crowd and helped spring fullback Jaumal Bradley for a 17-yard gain.
Amerson even played decoy for Northridge, drawing double coverage while quarterback Marcus Brady connected with Gil Rodriguez for a game-winning 13-yard touchdown with 13 seconds to play.
"[Brady] told me before the play he was coming to me,” Amerson said. “But it happened to be open on the other side.”
Amerson, a former teammate of Brady at San Diego Morse High, is the Matadors’ receiving leader this season, raising his total to 59.
“We work together all year,” Brady said. “We go back to San Diego in the off-season.”
Amerson’s contribution has softened the blow from the loss of Aaron Arnold, who has been slow to recover from a separated shoulder suffered against Montana.
“I dropped three against Montana and that’s all I hear,” Amerson said. “I can’t drop any more balls this season.”
Brady had completed 91 of his last 138 previous passes without throwing an interception. But the sophomore quarterback had three passes intercepted, two of which led to Weber State scores, and fumbled once.
But Brady came through in the clutch, driving Northridge 95 yards in the final minutes for the winning score. The drive was the longest Brady has engineered, he said.
“The last drive, I wasn’t thinking about anything but the play that was called and trying to get the first down.”
On fourth and three at the Weber State 13 with 13 seconds to play, Brady wasn’t thinking about a first down.
“I was thinking touchdown all the way,” he said. “You gotta love it. It’s what makes you stand out, those famous John Elway drives.”
Joe Gilliam, a freshman receiver from Fresno Edison High, suffered a mild concussion Saturday but is expected to play Saturday at Portland State.
Gilliam, who has 20 receptions this season, was hit hard during the second quarter and had to be helped off the field.
“He was seeing stars,” Kearin said. “He didn’t know what day it was.”
Ethan Beck took advantage of strong Santa Ana winds against Weber State by booting a school-record 82-yard punt in the second quarter. The ball bounced to a a stop at the Wildcats’ three-yard-line.
Beck’s next punt resulted in quite a different outcome. On fourth down at the Matadors’ 45 in the second quarter, the snap from center sailed over Beck’s head and toward the goal line.
Beck chased down the ball and attempted a hurried punt. It was blocked by Jason Allen and went out of the end zone for a safety.