No. 19 Portland St. 35, No. 4 Texas A&I 30
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Bill Matos threw for three touchdowns and Rais Aho rushed for 144 yards and two scores Saturday to lead surprising Portland State to a 35-30 victory over fourth-ranked Texas A&I in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II football playoffs.
Portland State (9-3) will play No. 1-ranked Pittsburg State of Kansas next Saturday in Portland in the semifinals. Pittsburg beat Portland State 53-21 en route to the national title a year ago.
The 19th-ranked Vikings, who barely made the playoff field this year, avenged a 43-42 loss to Texas A&I on the same field earlier this season.
In that game, Portland State jumped to a big early lead only to lose in the end. This time, the Vikings built a 28-10 halftime advantage and held on for the victory.
Matos, who took over from injured starter John Charles late in the regular season, completed 19 of 31 passes for 258 yards.
Henry Newson caught seven passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. His diving catch of a 20-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner.
Aho gained 93 yards in the second half and his running helped the Vikings keep the ball away from the Javalinas (9-3) for much of the fourth quarter.
Portland State led 28-10 at halftime but Texas A&I came back to slice the lead to 28-23 in the third quarter and 35-30 after scoring with 4:49 left in the final period.
Texas A&I appeared to be in line for one last chance at victory when the Javalinas forced the Vikings to punt on the Texas 44 yard line with 2:10 to play. But the Javalinas were called for roughing the kicker and Portland State went on to run out the clock.
Texas A&I dominated the third quarter and scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 1 yard by Dexter Deese and 6 yards by Qunerd Alexander.
After Portland State scored its final touchdown, Texas A&I went 89 yards in 10 plays with Alexander scoring on a 2-yard run to slice the lead to 35-30 with 4:49 remaining.