For offensive coordinator Mouse Davis, the prevailing storyline in Portland State’s disheartening 29-12 loss to No. 5 Montana Saturday was crystal clear. “It’s simple-turnovers,” Davis said without even being asked a question following the game. For the most part Davis is spot on, as Portland State was careless with the ball throughout the game, giving it away a total of four times, with three interceptions and a fumble.
For offensive coordinator Mouse Davis, the prevailing storyline in Portland State’s disheartening 29-12 loss to No. 5 Montana Saturday was crystal clear.
“It’s simple-turnovers,” Davis said without even being asked a question following the game.
For the most part Davis was spot on, as Portland State was careless with the ball throughout the game, giving it away a total of four times, with three interceptions and a fumble.
In stark contrast, Montana had no turnovers to the Vikings’ four, a fact that head coach Jerry Glanville said almost guarantees a loss.
The turnovers not only ended several Portland State drives, but also forced the Vikings defense, which played with conviction and purpose for the vast majority of Saturday’s game, to mosey back onto the field with little to no rest.
“We were on the field for a long time, and you start to wear down a little bit,” said senior linebacker Andy Schantz, who stared dazedly at the podium throughout the post-game press conference. “You get big bodies on you, and start to wear down a little bit, and that’s how some of those long runs break out.”
Portland State lost the time-of-possession battle by over 26 minutes, with the Montana offense holding the ball for more than 43 minutes to the Vikings’ nearly 17 minutes of possession.
The wear and tear on the Vikings defense was quite evident as the game progressed.
Employing its fly-around-the-football, converging style wonderfully in the first half, Portland State contained the powerful Montana offense to the tune of only 153 years of offense and a mere nine points.
Schantz finished with 11 tackles and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, while senior safety Aaron Dickson led the way with 14 tackles and senior linebacker KJ McCrae racked up 10 tackles, including four and a half for a loss.
However, as the game wore on, Schantz and Co. wore down.
The first indication of fatigue came on a seven-play, 52-yard Montana touchdown drive in the third quarter, extending the Grizzlies lead to 16-5. On fourth down, where the Grizzlies went a perfect four for four, sophomore running back Chase Reynolds busted through a huge hole and exploded into the end zone.
For all intents and purposes, that was the play that shifted the complexion of the game. Even though the Portland State offense scored a touchdown just a little over a minute later, it seemed almost all the momentum and confidence rested on the Montana sideline.
The Grizzlies went on to pound Portland State with run after run in the fourth quarter, scoring two more touchdowns to bring their lead to 29-12.
“Not much fun,” Glanville said as he walked to the podium for the post-game press conference. “Fun is winning. This sucks.”
Glanville reiterated that football is indeed “the greatest team game every played,” when addressing how the defense had risen to the challenge most of the day while the offense consistently struggled to amass yards and put points on the scoreboard.
Neither sophomore Tygue Howland, who started the game, or his replacement sophomore Drew Hubel looked completely comfortable Saturday, as the duo combined for 195 yards on 11 of 32 passing.
Hubel also tossed three costly interceptions, including a pair in the final 11 minutes of the fourth quarter when Portland State was desperately attempting to close the gap and piece together a late comeback.
After watching his run-and-shoot scheme accumulate its lowest output with 210 yards since returning to the South Park Blocks last season, Davis was not thrilled with his quarterback play.
“Pretty frustrated, yeah. Pretty frustrated,” Davis said of the Vikings signal callers Saturday. “I didn’t feel very good about that one-that’s for sure.”