Late Gonzales FG lifts Viks past Cal Poly

By Scott Hood  Oct 25 2015, 12:26 am — Leave a comment
Portland State Football  Cal Poly Game

Jonathan Gonzales kicked a 27-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining to lift No. 13/14 Portland State to a 38-35 Big Sky Conference football victory over Cal Poly on Saturday night before 11,075 in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

The Vikings had to battle through the rugged Mustang triple-option offense and some offensive struggles of their own to get the victory, but that made it all the sweeter for Portland State, which now has a happy bus ride home.

Cal Poly tied the game at 35-35 on a 29-yard run around left end by Kyle Lewis with 2:34 to play before Portland State drove 52 yards on 10 plays to set up Gonzales’ game-winning kick.

Portland State QB Alex Kuresa ran for one first down, then completed three first-down passes to move the Vikings down the field.

“He changed up some stuff, went to some audibles in that last drive that got us close enough for the chip-shot field goal,” said Viking Coach Bruce Barnum. “Alex had a helluva game.”

Gonzales’ field goal, his third of the game, came after having a 26-yarder blocked earlier in the fourth quarter. That was the junior kicker’s first miss of the season. Once Kuresa got the Vikings in field goal position, Barnum called for multiple runs into the middle of the field to set up the best possible attempt for Gonzales.

“I had all the confidence in the world in Jonathan,” Barnum said, when asked about the previous blocked attempt. “He has been great all year, putting us in position, and getting us points. I had all the confidence, never a doubt.”

The win improved the Vikings’ overall record to 6-1 and Big Sky mark to 3-1, one game behind first-place Southern Utah and Eastern Washington. Cal Poly, playing its seventh consecutive team ranked in the national polls this season, fell to 2-5 and 1-3.

Portland State forced four Cal Poly fumbles in the game, and won the critically important turnover margin battle by plus-3 (1-4). They also stopped the Mustangs twice on downs.

Kuresa led Portland State with 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries and threw touchdown passes to Darnell Adams (20 yards) and Trent Riley (13 yards).  Kuresa accounted for all four PSU touchdowns and completed 16 of 25 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

Kuresa took control after the Viking running game had been stymied in the first half, and with David Jones on the sideline for the most of the second half with a bum ankle.

“Cal Poly did a great job taking away our run game. They did some things we had to adjust to at halftime,” Barnum said. “But we weathered the storm. It is hard-to-impossible to win down here. You see why these guys have been so good on this field with the way they play.”

Cal Poly, despite playing without starting quarterback Chris Brown, compiled advantages of 420-154 in rushing yards, 536-386 in total yards, 27-20 in first downs and a 35-to-25 minute edge in time of possession, but lost for the fifth time in its last six games.

Cal Poly, which lost four fumbles, overcame two early lost fumbles and built a 21-13 lead early in the third quarter on a one-yard run by fullback Jared Mohamed. Kuresa’s 40-yard TD run and two-point conversion knotted the score at 21-21 midway through the third quarter.

Portland State never trailed again. The game was tied at 21-21, 28-28 and 35-35 before Gonzales kicked his game winner.

Kuresa gave the Vikins a 28-21 less than three minutes after his 40-yard scamper with a 15-yard run. Cal Poly responded quickly with a 57-yard TD pass to tie the score at 28-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

Jeremy Lutali had 10 tackles to lead the Vikings. Beau Duronslet made nine and recovered a fumble.Michael Doman recovered one fumble and forced another.

Quarterback Khaleel Jenkins, playing his first game in a Mustang uniform, added 93 yards on 16 trips, including a 50-yard touchdown romp late in the second quarter. He completed three of 14 passes for 59 additional yards.Sophomore fullback Joe Protheroe rushed for 75 yards, Kyle Lewis 55 yards and Mohamed 46. All three scored one touchdown.

Other Mustang score was on a flea flicker as wide receiver Kory Fox took a pitch from Jenkins and hit Kyle Lewis with a 57-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, tying the game at 28-28.

Riley caught five passes for 88 yards.

Scott Hood

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