Vikings go winless
A finale that turned into a laugher for Eastern Washington capped a season that was no laughing matter for Portland State.
At Cheney, Washington, the host Eagles scored on all four of their third-quarter possessions to go in front 59-26, and they went on to beat the Vikings 59-33.
With the loss, PSU finished the year 0-11, going 0-8 in the Big Sky.
The only other winless season in Portland State football history came in 1952, six years after then-Vanport College fielded its first team. The '52 team went 0-9. including 0-3 in the Oregon Collegiate Conference.
Eastern Washington improved to 7-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play. The Eagles, ranked 19th and 20th in the national polls, are on the fringe of being able to get into the FCS postseason.
The Eagles had nearly 700 yards on offense by the end of the third quarter. They settled for 728 yards to 502 for Portland State, which got 386 in the air from redshirt freshman Davis Alexander in the quarterback's third start.
The teams traded points for most of the first half, and an Alexander touchdown bomb at the end of the second quarter got PSU within 31-26.
But it was all Eagles in the pivotal third quarter, and all Eastern Washington had to do was coast to the finish.
Alexander also ran 16 times for 70 yards, leading the Viks in both those categories.
Charlie Taumoepeau caught nine passes for 145 yards and one touchdown. Nine other Vikings caught at least one pass, as Portland State running backs totaled just 46 yards on 19 carries, with big back Jason Talley scoring twice on short bursts.
Eagles QB Gage Gubrud outdid Alexander overall with four touchdown passes and 445 yards in the air, completing 17 of 32 throws. And he ran eight times for 67 yards.
The game started with an Eagles gamble that backfired. Eastern Washington went for a first down on fourth-and-2 from the PSU 46 on its first possession. The Vikings got the ball after a sack and drove 50 yards and took a 7-0 lead on Talley's 1-yard run and Graycen Kennedy's point-after.
The Eagles came right back with an 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive and tied the score on Antoine Custer's 6-yard run.
Late in the first quarter, a 33-yard EWU punt return to the Vikings 31 set up a 28-yard touchdown run by Custer for a 14-7 lead.
Portland State hit passes for 19 and 14 yards to Taumoepeau on its way to the end zone for a tying touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. Talley banged in from the 2.
The Eagles went in front 17-14 with a 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Eastern Washington boosted its lead to 24-14 on a 60-yard pass play. Wide receiver Nic Sblendorio made the catch in double coverage as the deflected ball came down to him, and he raced the remaining 30-plus yards untouched.
PSU's next drive stalled at the Eagles 25, and Kennedy missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
Alexander's 32-yard run got Portland State to its opponents' 19 late in the second quarter. He then ran to the 7 and hit wideout Darnell Adams in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown that pulled the Viks to within 24-20, with the PAT off to the right.
Gubrud found receiver Jayce Gilder open in the end zone from 11 yards for a touchdown and a 31-20 Eagles lead with 41 seconds to go in the first half.
But Alexander connected on a Hail Mary of 50 yards to a former PSU basketball player, 6-7 De'Sean Parsons, to make the halftime score 31-26 (a two-point conversion failed).
Alexander went to intermission with 261 yards passing (16 of 24).
The shootout continued to start the third quarter, with Gubrud and Jayce Gilder hooking up for 11 yards and a touchdown shortly after the break.
PSU, now down 38-26,
Eastern Washington seized a 45-26 lead on Gubrud's 23-yard toucheown run the next time it had the ball.
Later in the third quarter, Alexander threw his first interception of the night. EWU took over at the Vikings 33, and Custer scored on a 27-yard run to give the Eagles a 52-26 advantage with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
Portland State was forced to punt, and the Eagles stretched their lead to 59-26 on Gubrud's 74-yard TD pass to Sblendorio with 1:36 remaining in the quarter.
Taumoepeau caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Alexander early in the fourth quarter, as PSU cut its deficit to 59-33.
A fumble at the Eastern 37 gave PSU another chance, but the Vikings failed to capitalize.