NAU beats Portland State with late field goal
Northern Arizona's Luis Aguilar kicked a 38-yard field goal with four seconds left to beat Portland State 31-29 at Flagstaff, Arizona, and snap the Vikings' three-game win streak.
The Viks took their only lead with 1:26 to go, when Cody Williams made his fifth field goal of the game (on six attempts). His 21-yarder gave PSU a 29-28 lead.
But quarterback Cody Cookus led the Lumberjacks down the field for the homecoming victory before a crowd of 7,327.
With some solid play on both sides of the ball but also a with big break, Portland State appeared to have snatched victory from the arms of defeat.
With 2:06 remaining, Williams missed a field-goal try — but Northern Arizona was flagged for roughing the kicker.
The penalty gave PSU a first down at the 13-yard line and then moved to the 4 before Williams kicked again, and successfully.
But Northern Arizona then completed four or four passes for 47 yards, putting the 'Jacks at the PSU 28 with 37 seconds to go. One run moved the ball to the 21, and NAU chose to run the clock down for a field-goal bid.
Portland State got one more play on offense, after a touchback on the kickoff. Quarterback Davis Alexander was hit as he tried to throw a Hail Mary, and the ball fell to the turf.
The Vikings fell to 5-4 overall, 3-2 in the Big Sky. They are fourth in the conference, trailing Sacramento State and Weber State (both 4-0), and Montana (3-1).
The Lumberjacks improved to 4-4, 2-2.
PSU has three games remaining in the regular season. The Viks will play host to Montana at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium, then welcome UC Davis to Hillsboro on Nov. 9, before going to Eastern Washington on Nov. 23.
Alexander finished 22 of 39 passing for 307 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. He ran 13 times for 31 yards.
Sirgeo Hoffman ran 23 times for the Vikings, gaining 140 yards and scoring one touchdown.
Tight end Charlie Taumoepeau caught five passes for 127 yards.
PSU led in total offense, 512 yards to 463.
Cookus wound up with 363 passing yards, completing 26 of 41, with one interception and two TDs.
NAU scored on the game's second possession, going 86 yards in five plays after a PSU punt. The Lumberjacks scored on a quick screen to Hunter Johnson, who split the defenders and race untouched down the sidelines to complete a 62-yard play.
Northern Arizona went up 14-0 the next time it had the ball. Joe Logan went outside for a 15-yard touchdown run to cap a 68-yard drive in seven plays.
In the second quarter, Williams made a 48-yard field goal inside Walkup Skydome for his team's first points.
Cookus threw into major PSU coverage, and Deon Crayon made the easy intereception and runback to the NAU 31.
Williams then hit from 45 yards to make the score 14-6.
NAU went for it on fourth-and-4 at the PSU 45, and the defense forced a hurried incompletion. Hoffman ran to the 29 on the next play, and the Vikings got into the red zone.
On a third-down play, Alexander got blitzed and lost his helmet as he went down behind the line of scrimmage. Williams returned to the field and botted a 44-yard field goal.
The Lumberjacks scored with 2:05 remaining in the half. Logan got into the end zone on the ground from the 4, and NAU led 21-9. The drive went 60 yards in 11 plays.
The Vikings drove to the NAU 11, but Alexander threw an interception in the end zone to leave PSU behind by 12 points at intermission.
Hoffman had 107 yards on 10 carries in the half. Alexander was 11 of 18 passing for 79 yards.
Cookus was 13 of 21 for 201 yards.
The Lumberjacks scored to open the second half. Tight end Gino Campiotti caught a pass from Cookus for 27 yards and a 28-9 lead. The drive took six plays and covered 75 yards.
Portland State came right back, starting with 61 yards on a pass reception by Taumoepeau and then scoring three plays later on a 1-yard drive by Hoffman. The running back ran for two points to get PSU to within 28-17.
The Vikings got three more points from Wiliams, as he hit from 40 yards with 4:52 left in the third quarter, and it was a 28-20 game.
Williams was no good from 42 yards with seven seconds left in the third quarter — missing well to the right.
But the Vikings, now dominating possession, pounded away at the NAU defense and got into the end zone with 10:07 left on Malik Walker's 1-yard plunge.
The 2-point conversion failed on an incomplete pass by Alexander, leaving Portland State behind 28-26.
After that, it all came down to the kickers.
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