Graduate student quarterback Josh Portis (Woodland Hills, Calif./William H. Taft/Maryland) passed for a season-high 318 yards on 18-of-32 attempts and tied his season-high mark with five touchdown passes (17, 26, 22, 2, 55). Against the Hilltoppers, he set new single-season school records for touchdown passes (33) and total offense (3,481) to break marks set last season by Kevin McCabe (32 touchdowns; 3,196 total offense). Portis also joined McCabe as the only quarterbacks in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season.

In the win, senior running back Freddie Bacco (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) set a season and career high with 173 rushing yards and two touchdowns (7, 6) on 17 attempts. This season, he leads the Vulcans with 885 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns – both career-highs.

Portis completed a pair of touchdown passes to both senior wide receiver AJ Jackson (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Lehigh/Sequoias) and junior wide receiver Terrance Moore (Key West, Fla./Key West/Mesa) on Saturday. Moore posted five receptions for a game-high 158 yards, while Jackson finished with 67 yards on five catches.

In his two years with the Vulcans, Jackson is now the fifth player in school history to have 2,000 career receiving yards (2,019) and is tied with Ettore Perry (1963-68) for 27 career total touchdowns.

The Cal U defense limited the nation’s top offense in terms of scoring (48.3 points) and total offense (549.7 yards) to only seven points and 148 yards of total offense in the first half. The Vulcans also forced three interceptions in the game and allowed the Hilltoppers to convert only 5-of-14 third-down attempts.

The Vulcans seized momentum of the game early, scoring on six of their seven first-half drives. Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers had four first-half possessions resulting in punts and two more ending in interceptions.

With the scored tied at 7-7, junior running back Windell Brown (Duquesne, Pa./Duquesne) scampered 40 yards for his ninth touchdown of the season. After sophomore defensive lineman Steve Santia (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) registered sacks on back-to-back plays on the ensuing West Liberty drive, the Vulcans took advantage of a short field with a 26-yard strike from Portis to Jackson, 13-7 with 14:53 left in the second quarter.

Sophomore defensive back Erik Harris (Nex Oxford, Pa./New Oxford) halted the next Hilltopper possession when he intercepted a pass by junior Zach Amedro, who was named the Super Regional One Offensive Player of the Year this week. The turnover resulted in a 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Marc Domonkos (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort/Lock Haven) with 12:17 left in the half, 22-7. Later in the second quarter, Portis connected with redshirt freshman tight end Blake Williamson (Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) and Jackson for touchdowns.

On their first possession of the second half, the Vulcans took a 43-7 lead with a 55-yard pass by Portis to Moore. West Liberty cut the deficit to 43-21 later in the quarter before Bacco sealed the victory with the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdown runs (7, 6).

Harris led Cal U with seven tackles (six solo) and posted his third interception of the year. Graduate student linebacker Dontey Brown (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport/Penn State) finished with six stops (five solo) and 1.0 tackle for loss (TFL), while senior defensive back Josh Menendez (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls/Dayton) registered five tackles (four solo) and two pass break-ups. Santia finished the game with four stops (three solo) and a career-high 2.5 sacks.

The Vulcans return to action when they face Northwest Missouri State in the NCAA Semifinals next weekend. Both teams are veterans of the national playoffs with the Vulcans in their third-consecutive semifinals, while the Bearcats making their fifth-straight appearance in the semifinals.

On January 7, 2009, it was announced that Portis would transfer to the California University of Pennsylvania in the spring semester. Since the school competes at the Division II level, he has two years of eligibility remaining with the California Vulcans. He started the season-opener, in which eighth-ranked California lost to unranked Saginaw Valley State, 23–17 and recorded 14 completions on 31 attempts for 145 yards and two interceptions and led the team in rushing with 12 carries for 82 yards. In that one game, he exceeded his previous combined career pass attempts of 14.[10] After dropping the second game, 17-10, to sixth-ranked Bloomsburg University, Portis turned his team around and threw for 202 yards in a 30-23 Cal U win over West Chester University. Portis now leads the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with 18 touchdown passes, a passer rating of 179.4, and led the Vulcans to their 5th straight PSAC West Championship. - 11/28/2009

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