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Mustangs earn first Big Sky win as Vikings pay for turnovers in game at San Luis Obispo.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The 2022 football season ended for coach Bruce Barnum and the Portland State Vikings with a loss at Cal Poly.Three turnovers and four second-quarter touchdowns for Cal Poly doomed Portland State in a season-ending 49-42 loss to the last-place team in the Big Sky Conference.

The Vikings finish the season 4-7, 3-5 in Big Sky play.

Trib's take: On a night when the Portland State men's basketball team scored an historic win at Oregon State, the PSU football season ended with a disappointing loss. Portland State started fine, and led 14-0 before the Mustangs took advantage of a pair of interceptions to turn the tide in the second quarter.

Starting quarterback Dante Chachere had some big plays — a 63-yard touchdown pass to Beau Kelly and a 76-yard touchdown run. He also had an 83-yard scoring pass to Kelly wiped out by penalty, then threw a pick-six on the next play. Chachere was injured on the next series and freshman Logan Gonzalez threw an interception that set up another Mustangs score.

Credit to Nathan West, who led three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and tied the game on a 36-yard run with less than three minutes left. But Cal Poly drove 60 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute.

Big picture: Ultimately, the Vikings couldn't get the job done on defense. Minus several key players who suffered significant injuries in Week 2 at Washington, PSU just couldn't hang with the Big Sky's better offenses. It's a challenge that isn't going away for a program that relies on the paydays that come with playing big school programs to fund the athletic department. In a sport that requires depth to succeed, getting beat up by bigger programs multiple times early in the season was too much to overcome. The offense put up some nice numbers — the Viks outgained the Mustangs 574-482 and rushed for 382 yards — but it wasn't enough because Cal Poly had 482 yards, 415 passing, and a 3-0 takeaway advantage en route to the only conference win for the Mustangs.

Bottom line: A 3-7 record against Division I opponents is disappointing. But, considering that PSU had a first-year quarterback and a defense that couldn't matchup with the elite offenses in the Big Sky Conference, the record is not a surprise.

Oh, yes!: Beau Kelly finishes fifth in career receiving yards (2,288), fourth in receptions (156) and seventh in touchdowns (18). Mataio Talalemotu became the 11th Viking to have more than 2,000 career receiving yards (2010). West was impressive in the fourth quarter, including a fourth-and-20 completion to Maclaine Griffin to keep alive a TD drive.

Oh, no!: An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the kickoff after the game was tied at 42 gave Cal Poly the ball 60 yards from the end zone, and the Mustangs needed seven plays to score the go-ahead touchdown with 47 seconds left. … On the last-chance PSU drive, Kelly threw a pass on a gadget play. Griffin had two steps on his defender, but the deep throw was just beyond the receiver's reach on what would have likely been a tying touchdown.


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