Over the weekend, Portland State Vikings football team wrapped up a two-game road trip against the Sacramento State Hornets. Both teams were 2–4 in the Big Sky heading into this matchup, but the Hornets boasted a 6–4 overall record while the Vikings were 3–7.
Heading into the second quarter, the score was all tied up at 10–10. The Hornets scored first to widen their lead to 17–10. On the first play of the next Vikings’ drive, sophomore running back Nate Tago broke a huge 73-yard touchdown run to tie the score back up at 17. After another touchdown drive by Sacramento State followed by a Vikings field goal, the teams went in to halftime with a score of 24–20 in favor of the Hornets.
Early in the first half, Vikings linebacker Dennis Taylor forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Demetrius Jackson who took it 61 yards to the house, which gave the Vikings a 27–24 lead. It wasn’t long, however, until the Hornets answered with a lead-taking touchdown of their own.
Down 31–27 on the second play of the next drive, Vikings wide receiver Stevie Coury ran a fly sweep 72 yards for a touchdown to regain the lead. After receiving the ball with great field position on the Hornets’ 37-yard line on the next drive, Tago converted his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run.
The Vikings carried the 41–31 lead midway into the fourth quarter, when the Hornets scored a touchdown followed by a field goal to tie the game. After a few stops by both teams, the Vikings punted the ball away with 3:23 left on the clock to Sacramento State wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who returned it 61 yards for the game-winning score.
This was an extremely tough loss for the Vikings. As in four out of their other five Big Sky Conference losses, the Vikings lost by one score or less. Even though they gave up a lot of points, they put up a big number of their own on the board and were poised to come away with a much needed road victory. PSU gained 500 total yards on the day, but still fell short of the Hornets’ 534 yard production.
Once again, the Vikings’ running game was clicking. Tago led the pack and carried the ball four times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. In his second start of the season, redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Kraght went 22 of 40 for 265 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. As for the receivers, senior wideout Alex Toureen lead the way yardage-wise with 135 yards on six receptions.
Up next for the Vikings is the final game of the season against the conference leading Eastern Washington University Eagles. Luckily, the Vikings won’t have to play on the hideous red “Inferno” field in Cheney, Washington, but rather at home in the beautiful—yet empty—Providence Park.
Last year, the Vikings almost upset the Eagles in Cheney, falling by a score of 42–41. This year, the Vikings have a shot, once again, to play the role of spoiler. Even though they won’t make the postseason, the Vikings are looking to finish strong against their Dam Cup rival in a rare Friday night game.