Vikings extend win streak to four
November 12, 2011, 5:34 pm
Portland State survived a last-second scare from Northern Colorado to pick up its fourth win in a row, beating the Bears, 23-17, at Nottingham Field.
The victory improved PSU to 7-3 on the season, 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference. The Vikings have won four in a row for the first time since 2004, and maintain hopes for an NCAA playoff berth if they can win again next Saturday. The last time PSU won seven games was 2006 (7-4).
PSU needed the foot of Zach Brown and a timely interception by DeShawn Shead in the second half to pull off the win. Brown made three second-half field goals, including the go-ahead score from 30 yards with 12:09 to play. Shead intercepted a pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown with 3:54 to play. That gave PSU a 23-14 advantage.
UNC came back to get a 37-yard field goal from Dave Eden with 2:28 left making it 23-17. The ensuing onside kick was covered by the Vikings, but UNC forced the Vikings into a three-and-out punt.
The Bears took over with 46 seconds to play and completed four passes, moving the ball down to PSU's 25-yard line. On fourth-and-five with 16 seconds to go, Seth Lobato completed a broken-play pass to Patrick Walker who went in for the touchdown. However, the play was called back on a cut block penalty. The block on the Viking defender freed up Walker for the score. With another try on fourth down, the Vikings knocked down a Lobato pass at the goal line as time ran out.
"I'm not sure I'll live to see 40," said Viking Coach Nigel Burton of the crazy ending. "I heard our guys say after the game, 'it must just be destiny for this team.'
"Four wins in a row… I don't know how to feel but good," said a relieved Burton.
Northern Colorado took the opening possession of the game right down the field, going 80 yards in eight plays. John Burnley scored on a nine-yard run and the Bears led 7-0.
Portland State fumbled twice in the first period, preventing them from getting on the scoreboard.
Northern Colorado's defense was solid until the Vikings finally mounted a scoring drive. It was a lengthy, 18-play, 98-yard drive that burned 6:24 off the clock. Kavanaugh hit Justin Monahan on a six-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds to play in the half and the Vikings tied it 7-7 going into the locker room.
After its' initial 80-yard opening drive, the Bears were held to just 59 yards for the remainder of the half by the Viking defense. PSU totaled 218 first-half yards, with Kavanaugh rushing for 66 yards and passing for 86 yards.
In the third quarter, Brown tacked on two field goals, a 51-yarder and a 46-yarder, making it 14-13. That set up the thrilling fourth quarter.
PSU had 362 yards of total offense. Kavanaugh rushed for 132 yards on 27 carries. He completed 15-27 passes for 138 yards and the Vikings' only offensive touchdown. Monahan made nine catches for 71 yards and the score.
Shead led the defense with nine tackles and the interception for touchdown. Ian Sluss added six tackles, and the Vikings broke up five passes.
Lobato was 22-51 for 293 yards and a touchdown. Walker caught nine passes for 126 yards.
Brown's three field goals give him 20 on the year, breaking his PSU record of 18, set each of the last two years. Brown has made 20-23 on the season.