Final game, final loss

It’s official: The Portland State Vikings, in their third year under head coach Jerry Glanville, have posted their worst season since they began playing at the Division I level.

It’s official: The Portland State Vikings, in their third year under head coach Jerry Glanville, have posted their worst season since they began playing at the Division I level.

With Saturday’s loss to the Idaho State Bengals, the Viks amassed an overall record of 2-9, finished conference play at 1-8 and ended the season on a five-game losing streak.

In a surprise move, Glanville started junior Justin Engstrom at quarterback. A transfer student this year, Engstrom is third on the depth chart, behind junior Drew Hubel and sophomore Connor Kavanaugh.

Hubel injured his shoulder last week, and it was presumed Kavanaugh would be the man under the gun.
Kavanaugh is a good option-style quarterback, but has been averaging only 44.4 passing yards per game.

Before Saturday, Engstrom had been taking snaps in the final quarter of the previous five games, but had yet to start.

The Vikings’ ground game took some of the pressure off of Engstrom. Senior fullback Bobby McClintock ran for 93 yards and a touchdown. Freshman and fellow fullback Ben Bowen rushed 12 times for 86 yards, with an average of 7.2 yards per rush.

Portland State’s running game, though, proved to be far more effective than that of the Bengals. Despite just four fewer carries, the Bengals were outrun by 114 yards. This was all the more impressive considering the absence of injured freshman offensive lineman Manuel Rojas.

The Viking defense also proved to be more aggressive up front, recording five sacks to the Bengals’ none.
In the first half, the Vikings and the Bengals went back and forth trading scores, and they entered half time with identical scores of 17.

From the very beginning of the third quarter, it was clear that the second half would not go as smoothly as the first.

The Viks had first possession in the second half, and went three-and-out. A Bengals fumble on the return resulted in a recovery by the Viks in Bengal territory. Engstrom scored the go-ahead touchdown run just 1 minute and 56 seconds into the quarter.

The Bengals replied with a touchdown of their own. The Vikings took the lead on a field goal while the Bengals missed one of their own. Entering the final 15 minutes of the game, Portland State led by three.

Then the floodgates opened and the quarterback starting his first game imploded under the pressure.

On the Vikings’ next three possessions, Engstrom threw a pick, fumbled the ball with Idaho State recovering it and threw another pick.

In the meantime, the Bengals scored a touchdown to take a 31-27 lead. After a botched punt by the Vikings, in which freshman punter Thomas Duyndam accidentally downed the ball at the Portland State 15 yard line, the Viking defense came alive and limited the Bengals to a field goal, making it a seven-point game.

Engstrom seemed to suddenly find his footing. He led the Vikings on a six play, 70-yard drive to score the touchdown to tie things up. The scoring pass was a perfectly thrown 40-yard bomb to freshman receiver Keitrell Anderson.

On the Bengals’ subsequent drive, the Viking defense held strong and forced the Bengals to punt. Unfortunately, a Portland State mistake would give the Bengals the ball back.

The Vikings took too much time switching out defense for special teams personnel and were called for too many men on the field—an automatic first down for the Bengals. The very next play by Bengal quarterback Russel Hill was a 45-yard pass to receiver JD Ponciano who, despite a broken ankle, broke free from freshman cornerback Mike Williams to make a clutch catch at the Portland State 1-yard line.

The 1-yard rushing touchdown that followed left the Viks with just 32 seconds left on the clock. In an act of desperation, Engstrom threw the ball into the end zone only to have it intercepted for his fourth pick of the day.

The Vikings have a long offseason ahead, which will surely be full of soul searching and reevaluating. After a season like this, the only way to look is up.


Justin Engstrom: 23 for 42, 239 yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 1 fumble

Bobby McClintock: 16 carries for 93 yards, 1 touchdown

Ben Bowen: 12 carries for 86 yards, 1 fumble

Zach Brown: 2 field goals, from 37 and 40 yards*
*Sets the school record for field goals in a single season at 18

Ryan Rau: 7 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry

Ryan Pedersen: 6 total tackles, 5 unassisted, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 2 quarterback hurries