Portland State football has finally landed a win in the Big Sky Conference. With a new season record of 4-3, the Viks are looking for another victory. The Vikings take on University of Montana, another Big Sky team, Saturday, Oct. 25.
The Vikings will be coming off a big win when they go up against the Montana Grizzlies. After an at-home victory, the Grizzlies might be exactly what Portland State needs to beef up for the rest of its Big Sky competition. The Grizzlies are 5-2 this season, which is by no means a bad record.
However, Montana only averages 154 yards passing per game, compared to Joe Wiser’s 253 yards. Additionally, the team averages at least 320 all-around offensive yards per game, meaning that the Grizzlies obtain most of their yardage through small yard rushing plays.
It was clear skies for Portland State Football last Saturday night when the team beat Sacramento state 20-7. The win stands as the Vikings’ first for the season in the Big Sky, making the record 1-2 in the conference. PSU outplayed the Hornets 355-274 in offensive yards. Of those yards, the Viks acquired 241in the first half alone.
The Vikings had more than just a smooth takeoff. Junior Ryan Fuqua scored the first touchdown on a 1-yard run, with 7:25 still on the clock in the first quarter. Wide receiver Amad Robinson pulled through and caught the game’s longest pass, 73-yards, for PSU’s second touchdown.
Sacramento’s Tyronne Gross make a 4-yard run for touchdown with one minute remaining in the first quarter.
The Viking team quickly recovered thanks to kicker Matt Langford. With 37 seconds left in the half, Langford kicked his second field goal, for 37 yards, and gave the Viks a 13-point lead. Portland State felt a bit of turbulence in the third quarter when Joe Wiser threw three pass interceptions.
The defining factor in Saturday’s win was obviously the Vikings’ defense. Despite the offense’s choppy second half, the Viking’s defense stood strong, ensuring a smooth landing to end the game. Senior Josh Ratliff, who claimed 13 tackles, including a 10-yard sack, led the big boys on defense.
Free safety Steve Shinen saved the Viking crew when he took an interception on the Viking 4-yard line and ran it back 55 yards to Sacramento’s 41. Other strong hands on defense included Joey King and Nick Chenault, who each threw down 10 tackles.
“If we play defense like that, we can win a lot of football games,” said head coach Tim Walsh, “That’s giving yourself a lot of opportunity to win. Offensively, in the second half, we probably had a lot of opportunity to put them away but didn’t. Our defense just kept battling no matter what bad things happened. We kept playing.”
If Portland State’s defense can continue to play the way it did last weekend, the Viking boys could be on their way to a win against Montana.
Portland State’s win over Sacramento State marks four in a row, and nine of 10, under the supervision of Walsh.
The Vikings face the Grizzlies in Missoula, Mont., at noon. The Viks are heading into this one with a 1-2 Big Sky Conference record and will hopefully have the confidence and defense to bring back another win in the conference.