High anticipation from the end of the 2015 college football season carried into the season opener as the Portland State Vikings started their college football season strong against the Central Washington University Wildcats with the score of 43-26, Sept. 3 at Providence Park. Even though the Vikings won by a 17-point margin, their win didn’t come as easily as planned.
Central Washington opened the first quarter strong as they scored within the first three minutes of the game. Wildcat quarterback Justin Lane connected with wide receiver Jesse Zalk for the 32-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up early 7-0.
The Vikings quickly answered with a touchdown of their own as senior running back Nate Tago rushed for a four-yard touchdown to put PSU on the board.
Similar to the first quarter, the Wildcats maintained their momentum as they scored two unanswered touchdowns. The Vikings would take back the lead by answering with two touchdowns of their own, leading the Wildcats 21-19 at halftime.
The third quarter only hosted one score. Central Washington quarterback Justin Lane connected with wide receiver Jesse Zalk for their third touchdown of the game, regaining the lead of 26-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
“They had success passing the ball because we weren’t getting to the quarterback,” Vikings Head Coach Bruce Barnum said.
In order to avoid an upset, PSU had to come out strong. The Vikings did just that as senior quarterback Alex Kuresa connected with tight end Maximo Espitia for a four-yard touchdown within the first five seconds of the fourth quarter. The Vikings would score two more touchdowns, shutting out the Wildcats 22-0 in the fourth quarter alone.
Portland State opened their season with a winning score of 43-26.
Lane finished 19-37 passing attempts, 321 yards and three touchdowns. Zalk finished with nine Receptions, 181 yards and three touchdowns.
Kuresa finished the day with 16-26 passing attempts, 222 yards, 18 rushes for 123 yards and three total touchdowns. Tago finished the day with 24 rushes, 136 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings will enter their three-game road stretch starting off with Football Bowl Subdivision program San Jose State. The game will take place 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Spartans’ CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, California.