Vikings grab a late victory over Idaho State
October 2, 2011, 8:35 am
A 34-yard touchdown run by Cory McCaffrey with 1:52 to play was the decisive score as Portland State won at Idaho State for the first time in 12 years, 42-35.
PSU had to overcome early turnovers and a staggering 21 penalties to come from behind and get the win. McCaffrey and quarterback Connor Kavanaugh combined for 430 rushing yards and six touchdowns to lead the charge.
After McCaffrey's go-ahead touchdown - the fifth lead change of the second half - an interception by Viking cornerback Mike Williams on Idaho State's ensuing possession ended ISU's hopes. PSU ran out the clock and picked up its first Big Sky Conference road win since 2009.
Two first-period fumbles by the Vikings stymied their offensive start. Idaho State converted one of those turnovers into a touchdown and led 11-6 at the end of the quarter. PSU had two big plays on one drive on a 30-yard reception by Justin Monahan, then a 33-yard touchdown run by Connor Kavanaugh. PSU failed on a two-point conversion.
Early in the second quarter, Idaho State drove to the Viking one-yard line, but the PSU defense held, and after a third-down sack, forced a field goal. ISU led 14-6.
Kavanaugh ignited the Viking's Big Sky-leading running game in the first half. In addition to the first period score, he tacked on a 43-yard run in the second period. That pulled PSU within 14-13 at halftime.
Kavanaugh had 105 rushing yards at halftime, and Cory McCaffrey totaled 113 yards on the ground in the first half. PSU outgained ISU, 260-173, in the first half but already had the two turnovers and 13 penalties.
On PSU's opening drive of the second half, Kavanaugh was at it again. He completed a key third-and-12 pass to tight end Gage Loftin, who rumbled 45 yards to the ISU 7. Three plays later, Kavanaugh knifed into the endzone from five yards out, and PSU finally led 20-14.
Following a defensive stop, Kavanaugh had another huge play with a dodging, weaving run of 43 yards. That score made it 27-14 Vikings and they appeared to have control of the game.
But, Idaho State came back to take the lead with a pair of touchdowns as the nation's leading receiver Rodrick Rumble got going. Rumble caught touchdown passes of three and one yard to take back the lead for the Bengals, 28-27.
McCaffrey's 23-yard run gave PSU another, brief lead, at 34-28, early in the fourth period.
Idaho State proceeded to put together an eight-play, 72-yard drive and take the lead back midway through the fourth quarter, 35-34.
Later, after a trade of possessions, ISU was setting up to punt. However, a high snap over the punter's head set the Vikings up in Bengal territory for the decisive drive. Two McCaffrey carries later, the senior tailback was in the endzone. Kavanaugh rushed for a two-point conversion giving PSU the 42-35 lead.
The Bengals tried to drive in the waning moments, but on their third play from scrimmage, Williams stepped in front of a slant pattern and picked off the pass.
Kavanaugh finished with 212 yards on 12 carries with four TDs. He also completed six of 11 passes for 102 yards. McCaffrey, coming back from a missed start due to injury, looked like his old self, rushing 33 times for 218 yards and two scores.
"Everyone was doing their job. When I got to the second level (of the defense) guys sprung me. When every guy does their job, plays happen," said Kavanaugh. "(Idaho State's) scheme was to shut down Cory and that did a lot of good things for me. But, you can't ever shut down Cory, he's gonna bust one at the end.
The Big Sky road win was a long-time coming and very satisfying for Kavanaugh: "It's an unbelievable feeling and its going to give us confidence going into next week. I like where this team is at. We're playing strong and finishing."
PSU totaled 538 yards, including 436 on the ground. ISU had 394 yards, with 364 in the air. Yost was 34-53 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Ian Sluss led a solid defensive effort for the Vikings with 13 tackles, including three for losses. PSU had 11 tackles for loss and five sacks in the game. Julious Moore had two of those sacks.