Commentary by Myles Boyns
The Portland State Vikings football team hosted conference rival Eastern Washington on Friday Nov. 18. PSU entered the field as the clear underdogs against the third-ranked Eagles, but they begged to differ with their performance on the field.
The first quarter began with the Viks showing a strong offense. Their 12-play, 84–yard drive ended with Alex Kuresa connecting with wide receiver Justin Calo on a 13–yard touchdown pass. The score was Justin Calo’s first touchdown catch of his PSU career.
“Calo has been with us for a long time,” said PSU head coach Bruce Barnum. “What a great operation by him to catch a touchdown in that game. I was proud of him.”
Vikings defense forced the Eagles to punt, allowing PSU to drive down the field and score again. This time it would be thanks to Maximo Espitia on a 2–yard touchdown, placing the Viks up 14-0.
Eastern Washington finally scored with Gage Gubrud connected to Nic Sblendorio on a 46–yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to seven.
The Eagles tied the game in the second quarter when Tamarick Pierce ran to the end zone from 2–yards out. The game would go back and forth with two touchdowns by Nate Tago, but PSU held a 28–21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Eastern Washington came back and took their first lead of the game with a 10–yard touchdown pass from Gubrud to Kendrick Bourne.
Portland State then drove down field for their final possession of the season. It was a dramatic finish that came to a fourth down, where Alex Kuresa scrambled out of the pocket attempting to carry but was stopped just a few yards short.
Eastern Washington held PSU off to win 35–28.
Eastern Washington’s Gubrud finished with 22–41 attempts, 304 yards, three TDs, one intercepton; 10 rushes, and 45 yards. Shaq Hill finished with seven receptions, 124 yards, and one TD.
For the Viks, Alex Kuresa finished with 22–33 attempts, 252 yards, one TD, one interception; 13 rushes, and 93 yards. Nate Tago finished the day with 16 rushes, 73 yards, and two TDs.
As the Eagles prepare for the playoffs, the Vikings’ football season has come to an end.
The question remains: What will we see from the Viks next year? Will we see another tough season? Or will #BarneyBall bounce back to its winning days?