When the Portland Tribune’s Steve Brandon wondered if the Vikings are for real this season, he pinned the likely answer on last weekend’s Big Sky match against Montana State. Well, it looks like we have our answer:
Yeah, Steve, the Vikings are for real.
Saturday’s Big Sky showdown between the Vikings and the Montana State Bobcats was nothing less than a gloves-off slugfest from start to finish. Billed as a clash of Portland State defense against Bobcats offense, the tournament match turned into a game of high scores from the top of the clock. Montana brought on the heat at the top of the first quarter, with an initial 61-yard charge by Bobcats quarterback Dakota Prokup. Portland State matched Montana State touchdown for touchdown, ending the first quarter neck and neck at 14-14.
The Vikings turned the tables in the second quarter with an immediate rush from 10 by Paris Penn, pushing PSU ahead. After routing the Bobcats’ first possession of the quarter, the Vikings proceeded to run away with the ball, taking the first half at 35-21.
But Montana State didn’t lay down and surrender. Defense went out the window in the third, when the Bobcats’ Logan Jones tore through the Vikings’ line for a stinging 100-yard touchdown. The Bobcats kept up the fight, but PSU had an answer for each push. Each team took the end zone three times: a real crowd-charger, but also a virtual stalemate illustrating both teams still had enough fight to take the game.
Montana State seemed to rally at the start of the fourth with a scrappy fumble recovery by Tucker Yates, but the Vikings grounded their rush at the 11-yard line before playing a savvy, time-killing 77-yard push that ended in a field goal by Jonathan Gonzales for the final score of the game.
Saturday’s win puts the Vikings at 5-1 for the season and 2-1 in the Big Sky. It is also a record-breaker for the Vikings in rushing yardage at 465 yards, over their 437 push in 2012 against Montana State.
The Vikings will meet Cal Poly this weekend in San Luis Obispo, before their next home game on Halloween against Montana at Providence Park.