On the third play of their first possession, Portland State showed the crowd in Pocatello, Idaho how they planned to win the game. Senior quarterback Collin Ramirez kept the ball on an option play and ran 77 yards for a touchdown. After the defense held Idaho State to three plays and a punt, the Vikings were able to march down the field on the back of DJ Adams. The running back accounted for all but two yards on the second long drive of the game. A couple of incomplete passes and a missed field goal kept the Viks from cashing in, but the running game was established and would remain the theme for the day.
Idaho State took advantage of the momentum right away with an 80-yard bomb from Justin Arias to freshman wide receiver Chad Hansen. The Bengals were going to put up a fight after all.
The huge plays continued right away with Ramirez throwing a 50-yard strike to Kasey Closs. Ramirez did not have a good day throwing the ball—completing only 8 of 20 passes for 144 yards—but thankfully the Vikings were able to capitalize on his longest throw of the day, chipping away at the Bengal defense until Hayden Plinke punched it into the end zone from one yard out.
The Vikings defense held strong for the rest of the first quarter, forcing two more three-and outs. In between those defensive stops the offense got going again, with Adams, Ramirez, Plinke, and freshman Nate Tago all running well. Ramirez also came up with another clutch completion to keep the drive alive, finding Thomas Carter for 14 yards on fourth down.
Idaho State went for it on fourth and one to end the first quarter, giving the Viks the ball on the Bengal 34 after the teams switched sides. PSU made short work of the short field, with Adams finding the end zone again just five plays later to bring the score to 28–7.
Idaho State wasn’t ready to give up the game quite yet. Arias found Luke Austin in the end zone from 43 yards out less than a minute later. With the quick strikes and big plays, it seemed like the two teams could combine to reach the century mark. The game slowed down a bit after a PSU punt and a clock-eating touchdown drive from the Bengals that brought the score to 28–21. The rest of the first half saw the teams trade punts and the Vikings unsuccessfully attempt a 52-yard field goal as time expired.
The Vikings ate up much of the third quarter with a long drive that ended in a field goal, then answered another Arias-to-Austin touchdown with a huge run by Adams. He took it to the house, this time from the Idaho State 43.
The Bengals were threatening again after driving 67 yards down to the PSU 8 when sophomore linebacker Brandon Brody-Heim intercepted Arias in the end zone and wisely kneeled down for a touchback. Adams got the next series off and the Viking offense stalled, with Plinke and Shaq Richard unable to find any room to run.
In the fourth quarter the Vikings played like a team protecting a lead in a close game—they ate up the clock with a long well-paced drive. Ramirez completed passes to keep the chains moving when the Bengal defense stacked the box against the run, and Adams and Justin Lilley found just enough space to keep advancing the ball. The Bengals were able to put together one good drive of their own in the fourth, but only came away with a field goal, making the final score 38–31 Vikings.
PSU hosts Sacramento State at Jeld-Wen Field for the final home game of the season Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1:05 p.m.