Vikings land first victory

With 2:06 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Vikings trailing 24-21, two big plays gave the Portland State Vikings and Jerry Glanville their first win of the season.

The Vikings earned their first win thanks to a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback, defeating Sacramento State 35-24 at PGE Park on Saturday night. 

En route to winning their 8th consecutive game against the Hornets, the Vikings finally felt like they had a home field advantage with a boisterous crowd behind them during the game’s key moments.

“I think the fun of the victory is it was a team win. Everyone that had to make a play had to make a play in all phases of the game,” said head coach Jerry Glanville. “We are starting to get a little home field advantage. (The crowd) was fantastic.” 

With the Vikings trailing 21-24 in the fourth quarter, senior quarterback Brian White and senior wide receiver Tremayne Kirkland led a gutsy drive down the field.

Deep in Portland State‘s own territory and facing a third and fifteen, White rolled out of the pocket and was unable to find anyone open. The quarterback proceeded to tuck the ball and sneak past a few defenders to gain a first down, sending the crowd into a frenzy that would last for the rest of the game. 

With a fresh set of downs, White set the offense into action, leaning heavily on Kirkland to move the ball to the Hornets’ 42 yard line. After a short gain and a momentum-killing sack, the offense faced a daunting third down and eight capable of deciding the outcome of the game.

White took the snap and sat in the pocket, enduring a hard hit as he floated the ball to Kirkland down the field. Kirkland made an impressive leaping catch under heavy pressure from a Hornet defensive back and dashed to the end zone, giving Portland State its first lead of the game, at 28-24 with 2:06 remaining in regulation. 

The touchdown caused uproar in the stands, as the 8,385 raucous fans in attendance grew even louder and more deafening than any time in recent memory.

Kirkland finished the game with 109 yards on nine catches and the go-ahead touchdown catch. White finished with a well-balanced performance, throwing for 363 yards, three touchdowns (one rushing) and a 70 percent completion percentage. White also took a pounding from Sacramento State’s pass rushers, as the Hornets sacked him on 10 occasions.

Sacramento State looked to fight back with just under two minutes remaining. Down 28-24 and the game now on the line, freshman quarterback Jason Smith pieced together a drive that appeared promising. After completing two passes, a quarterback scramble and penalty placed the Hornets on the Viking 33 yard line, certainly within striking distance for the Hornets. 

Being beckoned by the players, the crowd became even louder and its cheers echoed through the dark hallways of PGE Park. Senior linebacker Jordan Senn wildly flapped his arms on the field, attempting to spur even more excitement from the Viking faithful.

The Vikings unleashed a load of pressure on Smith, causing him to miscalculate a pass intended for wide receiver Ryan Coogler. Smith’s inaccurate pass sailed right to Senn’s surprised hands. 

The defensive captain immediately turned and sprinted 76 yards for a touchdown with just 30 seconds left in the game, extending the Vikings’ lead to 35-24 and placing the game out of reach for the Hornets. Senn finished the game with 11 tackles and the game-sealing pick.

Senn’s interception return for a touchdown once again brought the crowd to its feet, a sight the senior linebacker could not witness enough.

“The crowd—definitely, its nice to do a little a this (flaps arms) and actually get the crowd into it. So, I love it. Its great to have support like this in our home town,” Senn said.