Portland State Vikings hold off Eastern Washington’s comeback bid, win 38-35

The Portland State Vikings built a 28-point lead Saturday, then held off Eastern Washington’s second-half rally to beat the Eagles 38-35 in Cheney, Washington.

Portland State scored touchdowns on five of its first six drives and pounded Eastern Washington for 261 rushing yards in the first half. That translated into a 35-7 lead at halftime.

But the Eagles stormed back in the second half, scoring 28 points as Gunner Talkington threw three touchdown passes and Tuna Altahir ran for another.

The Vikings’ only scoring in the second half came on Gianni Smith’s 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but that proved just enough.

Eastern Washington narrowed the gap to 38-35 on Nolan Ulm’s 30-yard touchdown catch with 3:49 to play, but the Vikings (3-5, 2-3 Big Sky) ran out the clock from there.

Quarterback Dante Chachere put the Vikings on the board with his 51-yard run less than 90 seconds into the game. After touchdown runs by JoJo Siofele, Mataio Talalemotu and Chachere, Portland State led 28-0.

The Eagles (2-6, 1-4) scored late in the second quarter on Justice Jackson’s 62-yard touchdown run, and the Vikings answered in the final minute of the half on Beau Kelly’s 9-yard touchdown catch.

PSU finished with 427 rushing yards and 628 total yards. Eastern Washington, which was held to 183 yards in the first half, put up 381 in the second half.

Chachere went 17 of 22 for 201 yards and a touchdown, plus he ran for 141 yards and the two scores. PSU’s Jobi Malary had 19 carries for 148 yards.

Talkington completed 36 of 60 passes for 394 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Next up: Portland State vs. Northern Colorado, 2 p.m. PT next Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium (ESPN+).

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