Weber State spoils Vikings' playoff bid
- Reed Jackson
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Portland State's season came to a heartbreaking end Saturday with a 48-33 loss to Weber State, eliminating any hope of a playoff berth.
Wildcats running back CJ Tuckett ran for 211 yards and five touchdowns at Jeld-Wen Field, including three TDs in the fourth quarter, against a Vikings defense that struggled to stop the rush all day.
The Vikings had taken a 30-27 lead with nine minutes left to play on a Zach Brown field goal. But Tuckett scored on a 4-yard rush just a few minutes later to regain the lead for Weber State.
On the next Vikings' possession, quarterback Connor Kavanaugh threw an interception that Anthony Morales returned to the PSU 10-yard line. Tuckett landed in the end zone four plays later, making the score 41-30. and #8232;Brown kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2 1/2 minutes left, reducing the deficit to eight. The Vikings' onside kick attempt failed, though, and Weber State scored on a 30-yard touchdown run by - who else? - Tuckett, sealing the victory.
Portland State's record dropped 7-4 overall and 5-3 (third place) in the Big Sky Conference. It was a five-game improvement from the Vikings' 2-9 mark last year.
'This has been one of the greatest things I've ever had as an athlete,' Kavanaugh said. 'Even though we lost today, I think we won this season. It's been awesome being a part of it, and I couldn't have asked for a better team.'
The first half was a shootout. Through two quarters, Tuckett had 100 yards rushing and Kavanaugh had 200 yards passing.
Brown hit his third field goal of the game from 21 yards at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter to give the Viks a three-point lead. But Weber State's rushing game eventually got back on track, and the Wildcats outscored Portland State 21-6 in the period.
'I think guys were just trying to do too much. They were trying so hard to make a play that they were stepping out of gaps and away from responsibilities, ' Vikings coach Nigel Burton said. 'We've talked about before, that you got to get past emotions of the day, and maybe we struggled with.'
Weber State had 374 yards of total offense, 268 on the ground. Portland State had 496 yards but gave up two turnovers, plus a blocked punt, and failed on a fake field-goal attempt.
Kavanaugh completed 22 of 37 passes for a career-high 364 yards and two touchdowns.
Nevin Lewis caught six balls for 143 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Kalua Noa, who had seven catches, and Justin Monahan, who had five catches, also had strong games for PSU.
'I just told them how proud I was of them,' Burton said. 'They know they put Portland State back on the map. The city was proud of them.'
And, even though he has played in his last game in a Vikings uniform, Kavanaugh said he believes Portland State has a bright future.
'We've got a lot of guys coming back, and I think they've learned from this season about what it takes to be successful," he said. "I'm excited to watch them next year because I know they're going to be fantastic.'