The good news for Portland State is their outing versus Sacramento State was not the same 48-9 beating the Vikings endured at the hands of Washington State last Saturday. But the bad news is the result was the same. Despite several bright spots, including a superb showing from junior quarterback Tygue Howland, Portland State was unable to contain the Hornets’ potent offensive attack-on the ground or through the air-and was handed its first Big Sky loss of the season 41-31.
Better, but not quite good enough
The good news for Portland State is its outing versus Sacramento State was not the same 48-9 beating the Vikings endured at the hands of Washington State last Saturday.
But the bad news is the result was the same.
Despite several bright spots, including a superb showing from junior quarterback Tygue Howland, Portland State was unable to contain the Hornets’ potent offensive attack-on the ground or through the air-and was handed its first Big Sky loss of the season 41-31.
With the loss, the Vikings fall to 1-3 in head coach Jerry Glanville’s second season at the helm. And now Portland State has notched a victory over a Division II squad this season, but has come up short versus a Football Championship Subdivision team, Big Sky foe and Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
Behind easily Howland’s best collegiate performance, Portland State moved the ball with consistency throughout the afternoon.
Howland finished with 394 passing yards and three touchdowns on 27 completions, including an 80-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Aaron Woods to give the Vikings a 21-20 lead just a few minutes before halftime.
But as impressive as Howland was versus the Hornets, the key player in this matchup was Sacramento State sophomore running back Bryan Hilliard.
Hilliard gashed the Vikings for lengthy gains time and time again, capping off his 125-yard, two-touchdown performance with a game-clinching touchdown run that gave Sacramento State a 41-31 lead with slightly over four minutes remaining.
And Portland State’s defensive woes did not end with being unable to halt the speedy steamroller Hilliard. The Vikings also experienced a wealth of trouble stopping senior wide receiver Tony Washington, who snagged nine balls for 158 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings actually outgained Sacramento State with 459 yards to 447 yards of total offense and won the turnover battle two to one, however, Portland State continually allowed the Hornets to extend drives with miscues on third down.
While Hilliard played a significant role in converting on eight of 16 third downs, a surprising figure that helped immensely in these situations was sophomore quarterback Jason Smith.
Sidelined about the past month with an ankle injury, Smith was not supposed to be available against Portland State, let alone connect on 19 of 32 passes for 307 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
With Smith at the controls, the Sacramento State offense ran smoothly, as the sophomore signal caller spread the ball around to seven different receivers and the Hornets struck a nice balance between running and passing the ball.
Portland State was unable to strike quite the same balance, though junior fullback Bobby McClintock had his most productive outing since scoring four times in the season opener versus Western Oregon. McClintock gained 37 yards on five carries and found the end zone once.
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