Portland State football found its pot of gold last weekend when its defense magically and forcefully appeared on field. The Vikings will be taking their newfound defensive wealth on the road to Missoula, Mont., when they play the University of Montana Grizzlies on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Montana has finally found some lucky charms of its own. The Grizzlies had yet to decide on one consistent quarterback until last weekend, when they played Idaho State. Junior quarterback Craig Ochs completed 20 of 38 passes, for a total of 329 passing yards and three touchdowns, thus ensuring his position as Montana’s number-one quarterback.
Portland State’s defense will have the opportunity to prove it is here to stay when going up against Montana’s high-yardage offense. Despite losing 43-40 against Idaho in double overtime, the Grizzlies still managed to rack up a cumulative 534 offensive yards. One of the Grizzlies’ offensive saviors this season is sophomore wide receiver Jon Talmage. Talmage reached a career-high 157 receiving yards against Idaho, including a 68-yard catch for a touchdown. Montana junior halfbac, Justin Green has become a major threat to any opponent, averaging more than 100 yards rushing in his last four games. He has also managed to accumulate three touchdowns this season.
Montana is currently ranked 12th in the nation and has a season record of 5-2. At 1-1 in the Big Sky Conference, the Grizzlies have also had 10 consecutive seasons in NCAA playoff competition. The Grizzlies have come out champions twice during their strong run.
The last time Portland State won a game in Missoula was 1987. This weekend is the Viking team’s chance at another defensive magic show, put on especially for the University of Montana, when it plays its fourth of five away games in six weeks. Montana has won the last three matches against Portland State, but PSU could have the power it needs in order to make the Grizzlies’ winning streak disappear.
The Vikings’ enchanting defense, led by senior defensive end Josh Ratliff, helped win a 4-3-season record and a 1-2 record in the Big Sky. After last Saturday’s win over Sacramento State, Ratliff was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week. Ratliff had 13 tackles against Sacramento, making 38 total tackles for the season. He leads PSU with nine tackles for loss and shares a five-sack team high with sophomore linebacker Joey King.
King had 10 tackles against Sacramento, but averages more than 11 per game. King has only played in six games this season and has already acquired 67 tackles all for himself.
Portland State had a combined effort of more than 50 tackles against Sacramento. The Vikings are going to need their tough and rough defense if they want to win a ball game against Montana. Saturday’s game begins at 12:35 p.m. The Viking men are looking for a win even if they have to go all the way to Missoula to find it.