Nacogdoches, Tex. – Mike Cajal-Willis, a redshirt junior kicker, came up with a 46-yard field goal in the Vikings opener at Stephen F. Austin to lead Portland State to a 16-13 victory in Nacogdoches, Texas.
For the second straight year, the Vikings have gone on the road to win their opener. Last year PSU won at Hawai’i, 45-20, in its first road game. SFA, a member of the Southland Football League, had won its last two home openers, and five of the last six.
This year, Cajal-Willis kicked three of three field goals, including a pair of 46-yarders in the fourth quarter. The winning field goal came with 4:13 left.
SFA made a late drive all the way inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line but ran out of time with no timeouts remaining.
The Vikings only touchdown came in the third period as Juston Wood connected on a 34-yard play to Amad Robinson. A big 46-yard pass to Terry Charles two plays earlier set up the score.
Wood, in his first start, completed 20 of 38 passes for the game for 359 yards. He had one interception and a touchdown. Charles caught six passes for 158 yards in the game.
The Vikings got on the board first on a 42-yard field goal by junior Mike Cajal-Willis. It came following a short drive with 5:14 remaining in the first period.
Wood completed nine of 15 first half passes for 147 yards but was picked off early in the second period by Kevon Morton. The Lumberjack defensive back returned it 20 yards to the Vikings’ 15 yard line. Thomas Williams then carried up the middle on the next play for a touchdown.
SFA led 7-3 until their final drive of the half, a 14-play, 77-yard journey that resulted in a 34-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. The Lumberjacks then went into the locker room leading, 10-3.
The Vikings tied the game with their three-play, 80-yard drive in the third quarter.
Portland State outgained the Lumberjacks, 369-353.
“I was really happy with how we played defensively for 59 minutes,” said Coach Tim Walsh. “It may have been better than we played for a couple of years. We tackled really well until that last series.”
“Offensively we weren’t as polished as we wanted to be but we did what we had to do to get the win.”
Robinson was PSU’s leading ground gainer with 35 yards on 13 carries
Portland State will have a bye week, then host Sacramento State in its home opener PGE Park, Sept. 15. Kickoff is 6:05 p.m. The game can be seen on Action Sports Cable Network (ASCN) and heard on KFXX 910 AM – The Fan.