Savali Talalemotu remains on a high after his defensive play made it on one of the highlight videos of ESPN.go.com in Portland State University Vikings’ upset win over Pacific 12 Conference member Washington State University Cougars last Saturday.
Portland State’s 24-17 victory was also historic as it marked the first time that the Vikings have beaten a Pac-12 squad. It was also the third time in PSU’s football program history that they defeated an NCAA Division I-A team.
Talalemotu, who also played high school basketball for the Kagman Ayuyus, sacked Cougars quarterback Luke Falk and in the process forced the fumble. Washington State right tackle Cole Madison recovered the fumble but failed to score after that.
The Saipan-born athlete, during the play, ran toward Falk and Madison tried desperately to block him and protect their quarterback. Talalemotu escaped Madison’s clutches to bring down Falk.
Talalemotu’s defensive play happened in the Cougars’ first and 15 at the Vikings’ 45-yard line in the 2:11 mark of the first quarter with Washington State holding on to a 3-0 lead. The Cougars lost 10 yards in that play.
“Our first game was unreal. I still can’t believe it,” said the Portland Vikings junior in a message to the Saipan Tribune. “It was the first time we beat a Pac 12 school and yes I started.”
The 22-year-old added that he dedicated his performance and Portland State’s win to Saipan, which was still recovering after being pummeled by Typhoon Soudelor last month.
“I did it for all the people back home and I’m glad they mentioned Saipan! So, stay strong Saipan!” added the former third team All-Metro League member while playing for Beaverton High School.
It was the Vikings’ season opener and first win against a Pac-12 team after 15 attempts. Portland State is one of the 12 members of the Big Sky Conference, which was initially conceived for basketball.
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Rodney Stuckey of the Indiana Pacers, and former Cleveland Cavalier and Alba Berlin mainstay in the Bundesliga Will Cherry are some of the top basketball products of BSC.
The Pac-12 is known as the Conference of Championships after winning more NCAA National team titles than any other conference in history. UCLA, Stanford, and USC are the three Pac-12 schools with the most NCAA team championships.
Washington State is part of the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision or formerly known as Division I-A, which is the most competitive subdivision composed of the nation’s top programs spread out in 10 conferences.