Release by PSU Media Services
Davis, CA - The air was electric - literally - around Aggie Stadium. And, in a sense it provided a spark to the Viking football team. Portland State came back from a 36-minute, first-half weather delay to beat UC Davis 41-10 at Aggie Stadium. Prior to the weather delay, the Vikings were sputtering on offense. Afterward, they exploded, totaling 601 yards, including 427 on the ground.
The win improved PSU to 3-1 on the season going into Big Sky Conference play Thursday night against Cal Poly. The Aggies dropped to 0-4 on the season with the loss.
Neither team produced much offensively to open the game. The Vikings were able to run only seven plays in the first quarter. But one play was the most dynamic. On a third-and-two at the Viking 15-yard line, DJ Adams broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and ran away on an 85-yard touchdown run. That was the only scoring in the period, as PSU led 7-0.
Aggie running back Gabe Manzanares tied the game one play into the second quarter, scoring on a seven-yard run. The extra point tied the game. That tying score came after a Viking turnover. Aaryn Jones intercepted a Kieran McDonagh pass and returned it to the PSU 43, setting up Manzares five plays later.
Immediately after the touchdown, the game was delayed 36 minutes early due to lightning. Thunder and lightning had crackled around the area from the opening kickoff. But when it popped overhead with 14:48 to play in the second quarter, the officials stopped the contest.
When play resumed, the Vikings had the ball, and their offensive lightning and thunder finally came back. PSU was on its own three-yard line with 7:44 to play in the second quarter when redshirt freshman Paris Penn was inserted into the game. Penn proved to be the lightning as he took a read-option carry 70 yards before being pulled down. On the next play, Adams thundered through two tackles, rumbling 27 yards for a touchdown. That put PSU back ahead, 14-7.
"It was great to see him come in and positively effect the game right off," said Adams of Penn, the backup quarterback.
The Viking defense took charge from there, forcing five straight UC Davis punts in the second quarter. The Aggies had only 29 yards on the five series.
Nate Tago got the PSU offense into great field position to open the second half. Tago's kickoff return of 50 yards had the Vikings starting in UCD territory. McDonagh made a 37-yard run, setting up his own two-yard score two plays later.
A 50-yard Adams run highlighted a 6-play, 80-yard drive for the Vikings late in the third quarter. McDonagh scored his second touchdown of the night on a two-yard run. That gave PSU a 27-7 lead.
Brady Stuart booted a 47-yard field goal for the Aggies late in the third quarter, closing it to 27-10.
Kasey Closs sealed the game for the Vikings catching a pair of touchdown passes early in the fourth quarter. The first was a 14-yarder from McDonagh, then a 68-yard score came with 10:02 on the clock. The 41-10 lead was insurmountable.
PSU's defense held the Aggies to just 258 yards of offense and forced 10 punts.
"I'm really proud of the defense, because they don't get the press clippings, they don't get the people talking about them. They quietly go about their business," said Viking Coach Nigel Burton.
The 427 rushing yards by Portland State were only 10 shy of the school-record of 437, set last year against Idaho State. Adams led the rushing attack with a career-high 208 yards on only 14 carries. His two touchdowns give him seven on the season.
PSU also had 74 rushing yards from Penn, 57 from McDonagh, 44 from Shaq Richard and 44 from Tago.
Closs led the receiving corps with four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
GAME NOTES: Although the game was between Big Sky Conference schools, it was played as a non-conference game. Both schools open Big Sky play next week… PSU's three wins already matches last year's total (3-8)… Nigel Burton has now won all three games he has coached against the Aggies in Aggie Stadium… the Vikings host Cal Poly on Thursday night at JELD-WEN Field. Kickoff is 7:15 p.m.
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