Following his team’s sixth road loss of the season at Montana State Saturday, head coach Jerry Glanville sat in the Portland State locker room shaking his head in frustration. Amidst his displeasure, Glanville managed to sum up Portland State’s 49-32 defeat with just a few short words.
Following his team’s sixth road loss of the season at Montana State Saturday, head coach Jerry Glanville sat in the Portland State locker room shaking his head in frustration.
Amidst his displeasure, Glanville managed to sum up Portland State’s 49-32 defeat with just a few short words.
“It was a long day,” he said.
Even though the Vikings enjoyed a couple lucky breaks, including a touchdown on Bobcats interception and immediate fumble in the end zone to end the first half down only four points, not much went right for Portland State Saturday.
In a fashion Portland State fans have witnessed all season long, the Vikings offensive and defensive units were unable to get on the same page at the same time.
In the first half, the offense sputtered to a meager 71 yards of total offense, while the defense intercepted two passes and did a decent job of containing the Montana State attack.
However, the two units played a little role reversal in the second half. The offense began to light up the scoreboard and piece together some fruitful drives just as the defense struggled mightily to defend the Bobcats potent rushing game and deceptive option.
“I wish there were more positives,” Glanville said before exhaling deeply and shaking his head again.
Behind senior running back Demetrius Crawford’s 187 rushing yards, Montana State amassed 369 yards on the ground. After a few lackluster possessions to start the game, Montana State shifted to the run and immediately found their game plan.
Montana State pounded the run with great success, rushing the ball 56 times and capitalizing with five rushing touchdowns. Throughout the game it was clear that the Bobcats were going to continue to rush the ball and there was no way Portland State could stop them.
“Their change of direction is better than ours. That makes for a long day,” said Glanville, who added that difference in foot quickness was a deciding factor in the result.
Crawford was a pest for the Vikings the entire afternoon, as he carried the load to the tune of two touchdowns and nearly seven yards a carry. Following the game Glanville offered Crawford great praise, stating that “he makes you miss” more than you miss him.
Bright spots for the Vikings were few and far between.
Aaron Woods delivered one on a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving Portland State an early 10-7 lead. In addition, the junior wide receiver snagged the Vikings final touchdown on an eight-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Glanville said another positive was Portland State’s punting game. Senior punter Danny Urrego averaged 41 yards a punt, including two that were inside Montana State’s 20 yard-line, and the Vikings’ coverage was superb.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Hubel rebounded after a poor performance in the first half to keep the Vikings close in the final two quarters. Hubel threw two second-half touchdown passes, and Portland State was within 10 points twice after late in the third quarter.
Despite an error-riddled first half, Hubel finished with 216 yards on 25 of 42 passing but also tossed three interceptions. Of Hubel’s three interceptions, Montana State turned two into touchdowns, including a second-quarter pick that was taken back for a score.
“Until you do things right, the Big Sky will score on you,” Glanville said in reference to the Vikings’ miscues, focusing primarily on the defense being out of position several times.
One play in particular that upset Glanville was a Montana State fake field goal early in the fourth quarter when the Vikings were within striking distance at 10 points back.
On the play, holder Tyler Lulay grabbed the snap, stood up from his kneeling position and then proceeded to barge through a huge hole up the middle without being touched for the touchdown.
Glanville said senior linebacker Andy Schantz, who finished with a game-high 12 tackles and two sacks, sniffed out the fake and called it out on the field, however, it was to no avail because Lulay still scored with ease.
In addition to a heavy dose of Crawford and the fake field goal, Montana State found great success with the option in the second half.
Early in the game, Montana State quarterback Mark Desin, who had both a passing and rushing touchdown, was reluctant to hand off the ball when running the option, which led to little positive yardage for the Bobcats.
But in the second half Desin appeared to be more comfortable orchestrating the option, as he mixed up his decision-making with a couple tosses to Crawford, or junior running back Aaron Mason, and even opted to tuck the ball and scramble a few times, too.
Either way, Portland State had more trouble stopping it than any other time this season.
“This is probably the first time this season anyone has gotten positive yards on us in the option,” Glanville said with another look of disbelief.