SACRAMENTO — Fred Amey caught a pair of touchdown passes, including a 50-yard game winner with just under six minutes left, as Sacramento State beat Southern Utah 23-17 Saturday

Amey, who also had a 5-yard, third-quarter scoring reception, caught eight passes for 158 yards to eclipse 3,000 receiving yards for his career. The senior wide receiver has totaled 3,048 yards.

The Hornets (1-1), who lost at Nevada 59-7 last week, built a 10-3 halftime lead against the Thunderbirds (1-1), then stifled two fourth-and-short attempts by Southern Utah in the third quarter to take control of the game.

While the Sacramento State defense was shutting down the Thunderbirds' offense, running back Ryan Mole and quarterback Ryan Leadingham were lifting their own team. Mole, who replaced injured junior Tyronne Gross in the starting lineup, gained just 16 yards on 10 carries in the first half, including his scoring run. Half of Leadingham's first 12 completions went to Amey, whose 5-yard reception with 10:35 left in the third quarter gave Sacramento State a 17-3 lead.

Mole finished with 114 yards on 19 carries.

The Hornets got on the scoreboard first on their second possession of the game. Ledingham led them an 11-play, 62-yard drive that took nearly six minutes. Mole, a freshman, finished it with a 2-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. That gave Sacramento State a 7-0 lead with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.

Sacramento State extended its advantage to 10-0 midway through the second quarter when David Lively converted a 32-yard field goal, the first by the Hornets since Sept. 13 of last year. Lively's counterpart Steve Pulver answered for the Thunderbirds with 3:42 left in the half with a 29-yard field goal. But Southern Utah's attempt to add points just before halftime was foiled when Pulver's 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked.