Vikings drop final game to Bobcats

The Vikings had to dig down for motivation in their last game of the season. There were no hopes for postseason play even if they were to come out with a victory. The Vikings led early, jumping ahead by 17 points. But the Bobcats made a second-half push to overcome Portland State, 28-26.

The Vikings were able to put 17 points on the board in the first quarter alone. Portland State was successful on its first three drives of the game, with two touchdowns and one field goal. Juston Wood hit Ryan Fuqua for a 6-yard touchdown pass after a 44-yard drive. Nick Swanegan, who gained 42 yards on the opening kick-off, set up the drive.

Six minutes after the first score, the Vikings’ offense got the ball back and scored on an eight-play, 79-yard drive. Fuqua went in from a yard out to put the Vikings up 14-0. The defense then held one more time in the opening period to set up a 33-yard field goal by Mike Cajal-Willis.

Just before halftime, the Bobcats scored on a 4-yard keeper by quarterback Travis Lulay. The Portland State defense did the job in the first half, holding Montana State’s offense to only 97 total yards. The score read 17-7 in favor of the Vikings going into halftime.

In the second half, the Bobcats offense was much more effective. Lulay constructed three key drives in the second half, resulting in three touchdown passes for a 28-20 lead. Freshman quarterback Lulay completed 19-of-33 passes for 288 yards throughout the game.

Portland State had a chance to tie in the fourth quarter, trailing only by eight. Wood drove the Vikings down the field for a score by Fuqua and a chance to tie on a two-point conversion with 1:37 on the clock. An unfortunate penalty pushed the offense back 5 yards on the conversion attempt. Wood completed a pass to Fuqua behind blockers on a screen and an easy path to the end zone. Fuqua lost his footing and went down, barring the chance of a tie.

In his final game as a Viking, Wood was 18-35 for 274 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Already over 1,000 yards for the season, Fuqua added to his total with 116 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns.

The Vikings concluded the 2002 season 6-5 overall, going 3-4 in Big Sky play.