Sept. 11, 2010
DAVIS, Calif. - Cory McCaffrey rushed for 116 yards including a 40-yard touchdown, Connor Kavanaugh passed for 178 yards and ran for 56 more and Portland State held off UC Davis down the stretch on Saturday night at Aggie Stadium as the Vikings snapped a three-game losing streak to their hosts with a 41-33 nonconference football victory.
Portland State evened its early-season record to 1-1 with the win while UC Davis dropped to 0-2. Redshirt freshman quarterback Randy Wright threw for 261 yards and a pair of scores to help lead the Aggies while sophomore Nick Aprile carried the ball 12 times for 47 yards and touchdowns covering 1 and 2 yards.
UC Davis led just once in the game, trailed 21-16 at halftime and 35-30 entering the fourth quarter. The teams exchanged fourth-quarter fumbles and the Aggies' last opportunity in the final minute ended with an interception on their half of the field.
The Vikings also got four field goals from Zach Brown. He was good for 36 and 42 yards in the first half and then added kicks of 48 and 46 yards in the fourth quarter. His only miss came from 53 yards in the second quarter.
Portland State, which didn't punt in the game, finished with 435 yards of total offense including 257 on the ground. Besides's McCaffrey's 116 yards, Willie Griffin ran for 61, Kavanaugh had 56 and Keitrell Anderson finished with 25. McCaffrey's totals were highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown jaunt with 7 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter, making the score 35-23 after Aprile had closed it to five points on his two-yard TD just over two minutes earlier.
Trailing by 12 points late in the third, UC Davis moved back to within striking distance at 35-30 after Josh Reese hauled in a 15-yard swing pass from Wright. Brown's two fourth-quarter field goals - sandwiched around Sean Kelley's 39-yard kick - accounted for the remaining scoring.
UC Davis had an opportunity to take the lead following Kelley's field goal that made it 38-33 with 5:48 to go after the Vikings' AJ Powell fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the 18. However, defensive tackle Travis Beckley forced Joe Trombetta to fumble two plays later and Portland State got it back. The Vikings then moved down the field, picking up a key third down that allowed Brown to make his final field goal with 46 seconds remaining.
"They just kept moving the chains," said Aggie coach Bob Biggs. "It wasn't always big plays, other than the fourth down play that they ran for a touchdown. I thought their quarterback did a great job nickel-and-diming his way down the field, picking up first downs on scrambles. We just couldn't stop them. We still had lots of opportunities, but we just couldn't take advantage."
UC Davis forged an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 36-yard field goal from Kelley who has now made his last 11 attempts. But Portland State scored the next 14 points on two field goals and Joel Sisler's 33-yard interception return of Wright's pass early in the second quarter. Aprile scored from a yard, Grffin answered from eight yards and Sean Creadick hauled in a 6-yard TD pass Wright late in the half to make it 21-16 at intermission.
Kavanaugh connected with Nick Hutter from 23 yards to open third-quarter scoring with just three minutes gone, making it 28-16 before Aprile answered with his second score.
"We had too many mental errors," said Aggie linebacker Dozie Amajoyi. "We didn't do a good job of tackling the quarterback on the quarterback scramble. He was a pretty quick guy. We knew he was going to be quick and we thought we were prepared for it, but he was able to get loose and break free on a couple of third downs. That was one of the main things that hurt us; third down conversions and not being able to get off the field on defense."
Defensive end Bobby Erskine, linebacker Marshall Congdon, safety Danny Hart and Amajoyi each posted six tackles while Amajoyi added a 12-yard interception return.Cornerback Marcus North broke up a pair of pases. Congdon also added a sack.
Safety Manoa Latu had 13 tackles while linebacker Ryan Rau added 10 for Portland State. Donte Almond and Sisler each had interceptions.
Wright completed passes to six different receivers including seven for 56 yards to Reese, a half-dozen to Creadick totaling 71 yards and three to tight end Dean Rogers for 50 yards. Aprile had a 50-yard reception among his two grabs.
""We got better protection tonight, so he had more time to throw the ball." said Biggs. " It's still a learning process for him. Every game, every snap is a new experience for him. He did some good things, but there is certainly room for improvement."
The Aggies will try to find the winning side next weekend when they travel to face the University of San Diego.
"This was a tough loss." said Wright. "I'm sure that we will rebound hard. We have to have each other's backs, so hopefully we can get a win next week and get this thing on track."
Kickoff in San Diego next weekend is 6:05 p.m.
Aggies hold numerous top NCAA numbers
vs. 22/RV Northern Arizona (4 p.m.)