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Vikings’ offense rolls over Hornets

The Vikings earned a 34-20 victory on Saturday night as their offense came alive in the second half. Sacramento State’s defense gave up 24 unanswered points in the second half to go down once and for all. The Vikings’ defense played its part by making two interceptions and giving up only seven points in the second half.

“We pretty much dominated on offense in the second half,” said running back Ryan Fuqua.

In the first quarter, Portland State’s offense was sluggish, tallying only 23 yards of total offense. As both teams struggled with the ball, Sacramento State was able to get just one field goal for a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.

Early in the second quarter, Mike Cajal-Willis knocked in a 25-yard field goal to make it 3-3. Later on in the quarter, it was sloppy play from the Vikings’ offense that led to a score for the Hornets. Camron Mbewa picked up a fumble and hauled it 61 yards into the end zone for a touchdown and the lead, 10-3.

Closing in on halftime, the Vikings mounted a drive of their own and this time took care of the ball. In the red zone, Portland State called a screen pass to Fuqua, who took it in 15 yards for a score. That score tied the game at 10 apiece. To close the half, Sacramento State took the ball downfield and squeezed through a 23-yard field goal to go up 13-10 at halftime.

At the start of the second half, junior cornerback Nick Swanegan gave the Vikings great field position by returning the kickoff 84 yards. Despite the long return Swanegan did not get into the end zone. The Vikings’ offense started on the 10 yard line. Three plays later, Juston Wood hit Jesse Levin for a 5-yard touchdown and a 17-13 lead. On their next possession, the Hornets were picked off by David Goodloe to set up another Viking score. Wood eventually took the ball in himself on a 9-yard scamper.

“In the second half, I gotta give credit to Nick Swanegan, who came out on the first kickoff to give us great field position,” Fuqua said.

In the fourth quarter, it was more of the Viking offense rolling. Cajal-Willis was successful from 21 yards out to make it 27-13 early in the fourth quarter. About halfway through the fourth quarter, Fuqua burst free for a 53-yard run and a touchdown. The score was 34-13, as the lead never slipped away. The Vikings held on to win 34-20.

“Our offensive line did a great job pushing off the ball,” Fuqua said.

Imran HaiderThe Vikings’ defense only allowed one touchdown in the second half. Defensive end Steven Kleinert gathered a team-high 10 tackles and also one sack. Benjamin Tucker, Nick Chenault and Jamal Abdullah each made nine tackles. On the offensive side, Wood was 18-27 passing for 143 yards. On the ground, Fuqua carried the ball 31 times for 141 yards. Leading the way for the receivers, Antonio Jackson made six catches for 48 yards. Fullback Saleem Muhammad caught four passes for 48 yards.

“It was another great showing from our defense. They did a great job causing turnovers,” Fuqua said.

The Vikings return home Saturday for their biggest conference match-up. Top-ranked Montana, which is undefeated (7-0, 2-0), will battle Portland State (5-2, 2-1) at PGE Park. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m.