Picking the play that cost Portland State its first road win of the season versus UC Davis Saturday night would most likely cause a rather heated debate. That is because there were too many costly missed opportunities to choose from in the Vikings’ 24-38 loss at Aggie Stadium in Davis, Calif.
Missed opportunities plague Vikings
Picking the play that cost Portland State its first road win of the season versus UC Davis Saturday night would most likely cause a rather heated debate.
That is because there were too many costly missed opportunities to choose from in the Vikings’ 24-38 loss at Aggie Stadium in Davis, Calif.
There was the near interception in the third quarter that dropped out of senior cornerback Reggie Jones grasp and rolled into Aggies wide receiver Brandon Rice’s arms, resulting in a touchdown on the next play.
Another missed opportunity came when junior Aaron Woods took a fourth-quarter kick off 81 yards to the two-yard line before having the ball punched out and roll out of the back of the end zone for a UC Davis touchback.
Then there was the roughing the kicker penalty on sophomore Dallas Smith, which came with UC Davis leading 31-24 and Portland State about to gain possession with an opportunity to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
On the play immediately following Smith’s penalty, running back Brandon Tucker scampered for 40 yards to put the game out of reach for the Vikings at 24-38.
Besides these unfortunate miscues for the Vikings, numerous catchable interceptions slipped through the arms of Portland State defenders throughout the game and a number of passes were dropped by members of the receiving corps.
UC Davis jumped out to a 21-7 advantage in the first quarter and never relinquished the lead. Portland State scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter and momentarily tied the game at 21 before UC Davis re-gained the lead with a field goal before halftime.
The second half was dominated by Portland State’s inability to capitalize on golden opportunities to take control and a few excellent plays on the part of the Aggies.
While the missed opportunities could be chalked up as the primary reason the Vikings fell short Saturday night, the UC Davis offense was a close second.
The Aggies employed a balanced attack that racked up nearly 600 total offensive yards and compiled 29 first downs.
From the outset, UC Davis appeared committed to mixing up the pass and run, which ended up becoming a key to the game because the Portland State defense was unable to hone in on neither.
Behind 137 yards from Tucker, the Aggies gained 227 rushing yards for a stellar 5.5 yards per carry average and four touchdowns on the ground. UC Davis outgained the Vikings by 206 yards on the ground, as Portland State amassed only rushing 19 yards.
The Aggies’ rushing performance was a far cry from the first two games of the season, as UC Davis rushed for only 11 yards on 20 carries a week ago versus Central Arkansas and also performed poorly against San Jose State.
The Aggies made the majority for their noise on the ground, however, the air attack was not too shabby, either.
Sophomore quarterback Greg Denham completed 26 of 41 passes for 361 yards and one touchdown and wide receivers Bakari Grant, Chris Carter and Rice combined for 18 receptions and 237 receiving yards.
While UC Davis was the epitome of a balanced attack, finishing with exactly 41 rushing and passing attempts, the Vikings were just the opposite.
Portland State opted to call a running play just eight times the entire game while passing 51 times, or almost 87 percent of the Vikings’ plays.
Dropping back to pass over 50 times, sophomore quarterback Drew Hubel was judicious with the ball, spreading it around to six different receivers for 339 yards on 29 completions.
Junior wide receiver Lavonte Kirven was Hubel’s favorite target on the night, as the signal caller found him on seven occasions for 89 yards. However, Kirven never found the end zone. Instead Hubel hooked up with a pair of veteran Portland State receivers in junior Mario D’Ambrosio and Woods for his two passing touchdowns.
When given an opportunity, junior fullback Bobby McClintock shined, hurdled and rumbled to 44 yards on five attempts, good enough for an 8.8 yards per carry average.
Even with superb performances from Hubel, McClintock and Kirven, Portland State’s offense was not consistent enough to keep pace with the Aggies, who appeared to be firing on all cylinders for much of the game.
With the loss, Portland State evens drops to 1-1 on the season before heading to Pullman, Wash., next Saturday to take on Washington State, currently the owner of the Pac-10 cellar dweller title.