The Vikings (5-3, 2-2 in conference) are ranked 14th this week, after losing a close game to Montana on Saturday. This weekend’s contest won’t be any cakewalk for the Vikings, as they will face another team ranked among the top 20 in the nation. Idaho State has a strong record at 5-2, 4-1 in conference.
Saturday’s game is just the beginning of the larger task in front of Portland State. The Vikings must win their last three games to have a chance to move into postseason play. Idaho State poses a challenge for the Vikings as their scoring defense ranks number one in the Big Sky.
Coming into this weekend’s game, the Bengals are only allowing 15.7 points per game for their opponents. The Bengals also lead the Big Sky in lowest third down conversion percentage. They allow opposing teams to gain a first down only 28.6 percent of the time, showing the tenacity of their defense.
On offense, the Bengals put points up through the air and on the ground. Running back Isaac Mitchell has 673 total yards on the season and a league-leading nine touchdowns (tied with PSU’s Ryan Fuqua). Mitchell is the Big Sky’s third-leading rusher, carrying the ball 129 times on the season. Quarterback Doug Baughman has 1,819 yards has completed 58 percent of his passes. Baughman has thrown for 12 touchdowns on the season.
The Vikings will attempt to score on one of the best defenses they have seen this year. Beating the Bengals will be the first step in getting to the postseason. If the Vikings get by the Bengals, their task will be to beat Weber State and Montana State. This Saturday is also the last game at PGE Park and a farewell to some great seniors on the Vikings squad.