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Vikings’ late start hands Montana the edge

Portland State fell behind early against the nationally second ranked Montana Grizzlies and couldn’t come back. The 33-13 win was the 13th consecutive home victory for the Grizzlies and a record 17 straight in conference play. The loss dropped the Vikings to 3-4 on the season, 2-2 conference.

With only the top three seeded teams heading into post-season play, Portland State went into the match-up with the hopes of another conference win. The second league loss puts the Vikings’ fate on other Big Sky teams.

Montana scored on the first play of its opening drive when quarterback John Edwards passed to Etu Molden, who took it in for a 66-yard touchdown. Molden is the Big Sky Conference’s second best receiver behind PSU’s Terry Charles.

With 10 minutes remaining in the quarter, Montana picked off PSU quarterback Juston Wood and converted the turnover for six more points with a 19-yard touchdown pass.

The Vikings put together a strong drive and got into the end zone, when Jesse Levin caught a tipped pass from Wood. PSU was only down by one score, but Montana’s Yo Humphery, who totaled 153 yards on the day, answered from 24-yards out.

Portland State constructed another drive early in the second quarter but had to settle for a 26-yard field goal. Montana responded with a 47-yard field goal of its own.

In the third, another PSU drive ended with a 46-yard field goal and PSU’s last score. The Grizzlies would tack on two more in the fourth quarter with a safety.

The Grizzlies were able to keep Charles and Ryan Fuquaout of the end zone. Charles had eight receptions for 114 yards and Fuqua rushed for 88 yards on 20 carries.

Montana’s defense caused problems for the Vikings by pressuring Wood, and sacking him five times. Portland State was able to get to Montana’s QB four times, but it was unable to force a turnover.

Portland State returns home to face the Montana State Bobcats Saturday. Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m. at PGE Park.