In a scenario eerily similar to the previous week, Portland State lost 41–42 with their opponent scoring in the final minute. They finished the season with two disappointing losses following a three-game win streak.
Going into Saturday’s football matchup against the powerhouse Eastern Washington Eagles, who were unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play, the PSU Vikings were already ensured a better season than last year. In 2012 PSU was 3–8. Entering Cheney, Wash., this year, they had a 6–5 record.
Eastern Washington began its season with a shocking upset over Oregon State University. The Eagles (9–2, 7–0) feature a dominant quarterback in sophomore dynamo Vernon Adams, who has averaged 327 yards per game while throwing 41 touchdowns this year. PSU and EWU are the two leading offenses in the Big Sky.
The Vikings used three different players under center in the game: Collin Ramirez, Kieron McDonagh and Thomas Carter. Ramirez had 13 completions on 25 attempts for 236 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. McDonagh went 9 for 16, also with two touchdowns and an interception, and unfortunately was sacked four times. Carter had three passes in the game, completing two for 59 yards.
Running back DJ Adams had his usual strong performance, carrying the ball 28 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. He finished the year with 1600 yards and 19 touchdowns. Saturday was Adams’ ninth hundred-plus-yard game of the season.
The Eagles were the first on the scoreboard when Vernon Adams threw a 3-yard pass to Quincy Forte midway through the first quarter. The Vikings responded late in the first when McDonagh ran the ball for 2 yards into the end zone, tying the game.
McDonagh and the Viking offense continued to click in the second. They scored twice more on throws to Kasey Closs, who had one of his best games, catching 11 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
PSU was up 21–7 entering the second half of play, but the third quarter belonged to Eastern Washington. Forte ran for a touchdown early on, and Adams threw another one later to Ashton Clark. The game was tied at 21, all with one quarter still to play.
And what a quarter the fourth was. There were six touchdowns between the two teams, four coming in the final six minutes. They exchanged scores back and forth, and at one point Ramirez went to a read-option offense, something we haven’t seen from the Vikings since early in the year.
The fateful moment came with one minute left in regulation, when Ramirez found Victor Dean for a 29-yard touchdown, putting the Vikings ahead 41–35. Marcus Kinsella missed the kick for an extra point, his third missed extra point this season. The kicking game has been a weakness for PSU all year, as they had three makes in 16 field goal attempts.
The Eagles had a minute to score, but Adams only needed half that time. He found Cooper Kupp for a 15-yard touchdown with 31 seconds on the clock. Kevin Miller made the extra point to put the Eagles up by one.
PSU managed to get off five plays in the final half minute but only made it to EW’s 26-yard line with no time left to attempt a field goal.
The Viking defense was led by Xavier Coleman, who had a great game with nine tackles, one interception and a forced fumble.
This game was part of the Dam Cup, a rivalry between the two schools where points are accumulated from a variety of sports. Before the game, PSU was leading 7–0. A football win would have given them 11 points and won them the trophy. PSU won the first two Dam Cup Championships and EW won last year. It will be up to the basketball teams and a new fan participation aspect (found at www.Damcup.com, it’s worth two points so check it out, PSU students!) to decide the ultimate victor between PSU and their closest Big Sky rival.