Portland State hangs with TCU until 4 quick TDs
For 28 minutes, lower-division FCS Portland State was hanging
right with No. 20 TCU – even without its top running back on the
Then the Horned Frogs scored three touchdowns in a span of 1:18
just before halftime, added a 65-yard touchdown run on their first
play of the second half and went on to a 55-13 victory
”It was literally a 2 1/2- to 3-minute period where the game
started to get away from us,” Portland State coach Nigel Burton
Portland State (2-1), which has already matched its victory
total from last season, opened the game with a 71-yard drive on 14
plays to get a 22-yard field goal by Zach Brown.
Until Josh Boyce caught a short pass on a play when the Vikings
were blitzing, the game was still tied 3-3. Boyce had a wide-open
lane down the middle of the field for a 66-yard touchdown with 1:55
left in the second quarter, and the Frogs (3-1) weren’t done before
On the Vikings’ next snap, Drew Hubel’s pass was deflected by
Jason Verrett and intercepted by linebacker Tank Carder, the Rose
Bowl defensive MVP, who returned it for a 26-yard touchdown.
Then, after a three-and-out by Portland State, Skye Dawson had a
42-yard punt return that set up his 10-yard TD catch for a 24-3
”If we take away six or eight big plays they had, obviously it
would probably be a different outcome,” quarterback Connor
Kavanaugh said. ”It just shows you how close we are but yet we
still have work to do. … (This game) gives us confidence. I think
people start to realize how good we are.”
Portland State came in as the FCS’s best rushing team with 348
yards a game, but had only 119 yards on 44 carries against TCU.
Shaquille Richard had 90 yards on 28 carries, including a 1-yarder
for the Vikings’ lone touchdown with 1:39 left in the game.
The Horned Frogs extended a school record with their 22nd
consecutive win at home since 2007.
”We’re very explosive,” said Boyce, who saw Portland State
preparing to blitz and both safeties coming to the line right
before the quick screen.
”We got a little greedy and were going to see if we could get
after the quarterback,” Burton said. ”A great team will make you
pay and then we got a blitzkrieg there in a matter of three, four
plays. That’s what great teams so, they’ll jump on you. That’s what
we talked about afterward, if you want to be a great team, we have
to learn to do that to other people.”
James took a handoff to the right to start the second half and
was quickly grabbed by a couple of defenders. They pulled him
toward the ground, but James rolled over on top of a defender and
one of his own teammates instead. James then spun away and ran to
the end zone, a touchdown that officials quickly confirmed after
looking at the replay.
James, who finished with 136 yards on 10 carries, added an
82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter – the
second week in a row the Frogs have returned one for a score.
TCU had scored 41 consecutive points before Brown’s second field
goal, a 42-yarder, with 12:40 left in the game.
Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall, who was 14-of-20 passing for
214 yards with three TDs and an interception, got a fortunate
bounce late in the third quarter when his pass was deflected by
linebacker Shane Melbo and should have probably been intercepted.
Instead, the ball ended up in the hands of Dawson, the former
Mountain West Conference champion sprinter who caught the ball near
midfield and turned it into a 73-yard TD.
”We came out very strong. We ended up kind of hurting ourselves
just kicking a field goal, but it was good to get out early like
that,” Kavanaugh said. ”Then the defense came out and went three
and out. It just shows you how strong we are. Unfortunately, we
needed to do that for the full 60 minutes. I definitely think we
came out and shocked them.”