Vikings beat Western Oregon, 21-7, in home opener
Game Recap: Football | | by Mike Lund
Hillsboro, OR – Portland State opened its home schedule with a methodical but convincing victory, beating Western Oregon 21-7, at Hillsboro Stadium.
The teams dodged rainstorms and penalty flags all day, but PSU came out the clear winner. The Vikings have improved to 1-2 over the season ahead of their Big Sky Conference opener next week. Western Oregon fell to 0-3.
PSU gained 417 yards against the Wolves against 278. However, the Vikings also won Western in penalty yards, with 112 against 85 for the Wolves. There were 23 penalties accepted in total.
“We’re still not completely cleansed. We’re still not smooth,” said Viking Coach. Bruce barnum. “We have shown signs, but we still have a few issues to sort out before next week.”
The first half was a surprise for the fans, and probably for the teams as it was a defensive fight.
The Vikings ran 90 yards for a score in their first series, but the rest of the half was scoreless. The power supply was heavy, with Davis Alexander completing 14-23 for 159 yards. The Vikings totaled 210 attacking yards at halftime, but were stopped near midfield twice and also missed two field goal attempts.
Western Oregon had just 106 attacking yards and five punters in the half. Portland State Linebacker Broderick Harrell had nine tackles, a sack and a pass break to lead the defensive effort.
The difference was Handsome Kelly receiving a nine-yard touchdown in the first series of the PSU game.
In the middle of a downpour to open the second half, the Vikings took the ball down the field for their second score. Alexander took advantage of the Wolves’ defense with his cadence, knocking them offside three times. A late hit penalty on an Alexander scrum also injured Western. When Malik walker rushed a meter, PSU took a lead of two touchdowns.
Later in the quarter, Kelly won her second touchdown of the day, an 18-yard goal behind the end zone. With PSU up 21-0 and 2:22 to go in the third, the Vikings had the game in hand.
It was almost a four touchdown lead as PSU headed to the Western 14 at the start of the 4e quarterback, but Luis Vicino caught a pass from Alexander in the end zone.
The Wolves finally entered the board with 4:16 left as quarterback Ryan Worthley connected with Damon Hickok on a six-yard touchdown pass.
Alexander finished with 295 passing yards on 23-37 completions. He pitched for two touchdowns and had the only interception. Darian Chase caught eight passes for 73 yards. Nate bennett added six receptions for 106 yards.
Malik walker led the ground game with 18 carries, a career-high 89 yards and one scoring.
Harrell finished with a record 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. Defensive end VJ Malo had five tackles and two quarterback sacks.
“The defense played a hell of a game except for a series where we jumped offside and got penalties,” Barnum said.
• Portland State now leads the historic 12-11-1 series. PSU has won the last nine in a row, dating to the early 1960s.
• PSU is 19-0 against lower division schools since advancing to NCAA I FCS and Big Sky Conference in 1996.
• Handsome Kelly had 92 versatile yards to go with his two touchdowns.
• VJ Malo has 5.5 sacks in three games this season.
• Davis Alexander is now responsible for 69 career touchdowns, 49 assists and 20 rushes.
• Portland State will host Montana State next Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium in a 2:05 pm game available on ESPN +. This will be the opening of the Big Sky Conference for both teams.