Seattle, WA – The Washington Huskies lived up to the billing. It was as simple as that. Eighth-ranked FBS Washington has been heralded as having perhaps its best team in the 16 seasons since it last won a Pac-12 title. They proved it Saturday at Husky Stadium, winning 41-3, over Portland State.
The Vikings helped the Huskies cause as, for the second week in a row, they were hamstrung by turnovers. Two led directly to Washington touchdowns, while the other two came deep in Husky territory. Otherwise, Portland State was competitive.
“We are giving away points on turnovers and we are costing ourselves points. That has to be cleaned up,” said Viking Coach Bruce Barnum.
Portland State dropped to 1-2, but now looks ahead to the important part of the season, Big Sky Conference play, which begins next week at Southern Utah. Washington is 3-0 heading into Pac-12 play.
The Huskies made a strong start, driving 75 yards on their opening possession for a score. The ensuing kickoff proved to be the first break of the game. Washington made a pooch kick, and when a strong wind that blew all afternoon caught the ball it landed between Viking players and the Huskies recovered at the PSU 24. It took only three plays and Washington scored again, going up 14-0 only three minutes into the game.
After that the Vikings held their own for the remainder of the first quarter.
Chico McClatcher caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Jake Browning early in the second quarter to make it 21-0. Then another turnover, on a lateral pass, on the following possession allowed the Huskies to take over at the Viking four-yard line. Two plays later, Myles Gaskin went in from four yards out and it was 28-0.
Portland State’s biggest threat to score came late in the half. Maximo Espitia made a 30-yard reception and was running deep in Husky territory when the ball was punched out from behind by Ezekiel Turner. It was the Vikings’ third turnover of the half and stymied any opportunity to get back into the game.
The Vikings outplayed the Huskies in the third quarter, holding them scoreless. A 26-yard field goal by Jonathan Gonzales finally got the Vikings on the board as the third ended at 28-3.
Browning tacked on a fourth touchdown pass in the fourth, hitting Gaskin on a four-yard connection. A late score gave he Huskies a 38-point win.
Washington outgained the Vikings 407-182 as PSU’s ground game was shut down. The Vikings managed only 34 yards rushing.
“That was a good defense. Those guys are cats,” said Barnum. “That is a fast-ass defense and they strike hard.”
Browning completed 12-19 passes for 163 yards and four scores. Alex Kuresa was 11-17 for 148 yards and one interception for the Vikings.
Linebacker Anthony McNichols had 13 tackles to lead PSU. Freshman defensive end Kenton Bartlett recovered a fumble in the second quarter for the Vikings first takeaway of the season.
GAME NOTES: In their one previous meeting in 2012, Portland State lost to Washington, 52-13, at CenturyLink Field… this was the seventh time PSU has played a nationally-ranked FBS program. Oregon was the highest ranked at number five (2010)… Jonathan Gonzales kicked his first field goal of the season… Marcus Kinsella tied his career-long with a 62-yard punt… the Vikings open Big Sky Conference play next Saturday at defending league champion Southern Utah.
Toughest stat for the Vikings was only 34 rushing yards on the night. PSU thrives on the run and averages over 200/game.
— Portland State FB (@viks_football) September 18, 2016