Weber State wallops Vikings
The glimmer of hope Portland State had for a big upset — and its first victory of the season — faded quickly Saturday with a lights-out first-half performance by Weber State.
The Wildcats stormed to a 49-3 lead before halftime and went on to win, 63-17, before an announced crowd of 3,792 at Providence Park.
Weber State rolled up 339 yards in its seven-touchdown half. The rest was even easier.
Portland State will take a 0-10 record (0-7 in the Big Sky) into its season finale, 3 p.m. Saturday at Eastern Washington (6-4, 5-2).
The Vikings have lost 12 games in a row dating to last season.
Weber State (8-2, 6-1) will finish league play at home next Saturday against Idaho State (4-6, 2-5), and is all but assured of going to the national playoffs — as the Viks did in 2015.
Portland State finished with 370 yards passing in its second game with redshirt freshman Davis Alexander starting at quarterback. He went the distance, despite absorbing some blows, and completed 24 of 44, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Weber State was an efficient 10 for 16 in the air for 157 yards and a TD, without an interception -- and the Wildcats ran wild, going for 421 yards on 49 carries.
"I saw a couple of times in the first half where we just have to make that tackle," PSU coach Bruce Barnum said.
Alexander had a swollen left (non-passing hand) after the game, courtesy of a first-quarter hit.
"Their front seven we knew was studly. They had a pretty good plan," Alexander said. "But I know our offensive line, including running backs and tight ends, worked their butts off, and that's all you can ask."
Alexander's first pass was a bomb to wide receiver Darnell Adams, who made a great diving catch for a 41-yard gain. Two nice scrambles by the QB helped set up a 41-yard field goal by Graycen Kennedy for a 3-0 Vikings lead.
Then came the deluge.
Weber State's Rashid Shaheed returned the kickoff 90 yards for a score.
Alexander battled, too, though. He hung in the pocket to take a lick as he completed a fourth-and-1 pass in the red zone. But after the drie stalled, Kennedy was wide left from 34 yards.
Weber State responded by opening up its offense, too, and went 80 yards in nine plays, five of them passes, to take a 14-3 lead.
Alexander took another blow in the pocket on the final play of the first quarter. And, early in the second quarter, Weber State kept up the pass rush pressure and forced an intentional grounding penalty.
A punt of only 18 yards by Hayden Cowden that gave the Wildcats the ball at their 35.
Weber State running back David Jones slipped out of a couple of tackles and made it 50 yards on the next play, then got seven more. A six-yard keeper and a 2-yard scramble by QB Stefan Cantwell pushed the Weber State lead to 21-3.
The Wildcats converted a fourth-and-1 fake-punt run in their own territory midway through the second quarter. Poor tackling by PSU on the rest of the drive enabled WSU to score easily and go in front 28-3.
The next time Weber State got the ball, the Wildcats needed only one play to go 60 yards — a long pass from Cantwell that hit Shaheed in stride. The PAT left PSU trailing, 35-3.
The Vikings' Kahlil Dawson fumbled away the ensuing kickoff return at the PSU 28. The fun for Weber State continued with a long lateral to 320-pound tackle Tyler Downs, who leveled defensive end Davond Dade and set up a nine-yard touchdown run on the next play for a 42-3 lead with 3:55 left in the half. Vikings senior linebacker Beau Duronslet, from Central Catholic High, was hurt on the play by Downs.
PSU averted more disaster when Cowden muffed a punt snap in the end zone, then was able to rush to the Vikings 20. But that gave Weber State a short field, and the Wildcats tried another trick play before simply plowing across the goal line for another TD and a lead of 49-3.
Portland State moved the ball to open the second half, but Adams lost a fumble just past midfield. Two plays later, Treshawn Garrett of Weber State ran 51 yards untouched up the middle, and the Wildcats led, 56-3.
Alexander threaded a 30-yard touchdown pass to Trent Riley to make the score 56-10.
A fumble by Weber State backup quarterback Braden Miller cut short a drive into PSU territory, but Kevin Smith raced 75 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, giving the Wildcats a 63-10 advantage.
Alexander scored on a 1-yard run with 7:23 remaining.
The Wildcats got to the Portland State 11 in the closing minutes, then took a knee to run out the clock.
Now, the questions for PSU football are: Can the Vikings knock off Eastern Washington? And will Barnum, in his third year as head coach, return in 2018?
"I predict that game's going to be tight," Barnum said of next week's trip to Cheney, Washington. "I don't care what the records are, Eastern is always a rivalry game, it doesn't matter."
Alexander said the Vikings have to "put one together -- we're tired of it," referring to the team's 0-7 conference mark.
Barnum, meanwhile, has been lobbying for more time to build a winning team, pointing to youth in various places.
"They asked me to build a house, not patch a roof," he said, "and that's what I'm doing. I'll guarantee you it'll get done. ... Check back in two years, and if it's not, that's when they should run me out of here."
WEBER ST. 14 35 7 7 — 63
PSU 3 0 7 7 — 17
PSU — Graycen Kennedy 41 FG, 7:52
WEBER ST. — Rashid Shaheed 90 kickoff return (Trey Tuttle kick), 7:41
WEBER ST. — Treshawn Garrett 4 run (Tuttle kick), :22
WEBER ST. — Stefan Cantwell 2 run (Tuttle kick), 11:54
WEBER ST. — Kevin Smith 13 run (Tuttle kick), 6:23
WEBER ST. — Shaheed 60 pass from Cantwell (Tuttle kick), 4:53
WEBER ST. — Garrett 9 run (Tuttle kick), 3:55
WEBER ST. — David Jones 1 run (Tuttle kick), :36
WEBER ST. — Garrett 51 run (Tuttle kick), 12:33
PSU — Trent Riley 30 pass from Davis Alexander (Kennedy kick), 9:21
WEBER ST. — Smith 75 run (Tuttle kick), 10:04
PSU — Alexander 1 run (Kennedy kick), 7:23
Att. — 3,792