This past Saturday started out as a hopeful day for Portland State Vikings Football fans as they organized a tailgate party outside Providence Park, before PSU (0–6) took on the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks (4–2) in yet another Big Sky Conference showdown.
The Viks looked to get their first win of the season after coming off a 20–32 loss to Montana State the week before. This was PSU’s homecoming game, and the Viks needed to make a statement and rack up a W for the win column.
However, the Lumberjacks came off a 37–16 win against Illinois State and were looking to extend their win streak to 4 games. NAU was the favorite going into this matchup as ranked 2nd in the Big Sky conference contrast to PSU ranked last at 13th.
In the first quarter, PSU made a statement right off the bat as running back Za’Quan Summers ran for a 65-yard touchdown within 2 minutes of the start of the game in order to put the Viks up 7–0. Summers finished the day with 10 rushes, 104 yds, 1 TD before leaving the game in the third quarter due to injury.
“I hope he’s [Za’Quan Summers] alright,” said PSU head coach Bruce Barnum. “He was having a great game until he got hurt.”
Throughout the quarter, NAU bounced back as they scored 2 touchdowns to put themselves up 14–7.
In the third quarter, Vik’s kicker Graycen Kennedy made 2 field goals [29, 28 yds] to narrow the lead 14–13. The Lumberjacks caused 2 turnovers which included a pick 6 from NAU cornerback Maurice Davison and a 10 yd touchdown run by running back Cory Young to widen the margin to a 28–13 lead.
“It was a good game up until those two turnovers,” Barnum said.
The fourth quarter wasn’t much of a difference from the third as NAU kept its momentum, finding the end zone two more times before defeating PSU 42–20.
“There are winners in that locker room. This game doesn’t define who they are,” Barnum said.
NAU’s Case Cookus finished with 23–39 completions, 349 yds, 4 TD. Running back Cory Young had 13 rushes for 109 yds and 1 touchdown.
In reference to Cookus’ performance on the field Coach Barnum said, “He’s the best in this conference.”
PSU’s Josh Kraght finished the day with 20–36 completions, 152 yds, 2 ints (15 rushes, 94 yds).
The Viks take on the Idaho State Bengals next week on Oct. 21 in Pocatello, Idaho at 1:30 p.m. PT.