Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy

49°F

Portland

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 83%

Wind: 21 mph

  • 23 Nov 2014

    Rain 52°F 45°F

  • 24 Nov 2014

    PM Showers 52°F 49°F


Viks hope to turn good games into great

PSU's mental game serves team well in opener against OSU


Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Paris Penn, one of two quarterbacks in Portland State's system, scores one of his two touchdowns last week at Oregon State. As they walked off the field at Reser Stadium last Saturday, there was not a smile to be seen on the Portland State football team’s faces.

By one measure, the Vikings had done extremely well. The little Big Sky school had hung with Oregon State, a mighty Pac-12 team, even taking a 14-13 lead into halftime. But the 29-14 loss was not good enough for the PSU players or coaches.

Still, there’s plenty for the Vikings to build on as they prepare to play Western Oregon at Hillsboro Stadium, 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

“We don’t believe in moral victories, because we want to win each and every game,” quarterback

Kieran McDonagh says. “But, in the film room we’re going to take away a lot of stuff and see what we need to work on.

“We showed that we’re a tough team. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how fast you are, we’re going to compete with you.”

While he was disappointed with the loss, coach Nigel Burton was proud of the mentality his team showed.

“I know this: I have some tough dudes in that locker room,” Burton said after the game against the Beavers. “They were resilient.”

At times Portland State was able to move the ball effectively against the Beavers. Quarterback Paris Penn ran for a 58-yard touchdown and an 11-yard TD in the first half. Penn finished the game with nine carries for 112 yards, and he completed 2 of 9 passes for 25 yards. Starting QB McDonagh hit 7 of 16 passes for 52 yards, with one interception.

The Vikings are using a two-quarterback system. McDonagh says offensive coordinator Bruce Barnum has a plan in place for how he brings them in and out.

“Barnum would tell us who was going in on the sideline,” McDonagh says.

Penn admits that the approach makes it difficult for either QB to develop a rhythm.

“It may throw the rhythm off a little bit,” he says. “But, at the end of the day, we’re trying to win football games. It doesn’t bother me. I’m here to be productive for the team and try to help us win any way I can — run, throw, cheer on the sideline, whatever it takes.”

Burton says his quarterbacks played well at times against OSU and not so well at other times.

“There were some times of brilliance and times where we were rough,” he says. “Their secondary did a really nice job, and toward the second half of the game, their D-line really found ways to get pressure on (the QBs), and I don’t care what quarterback it is, you find ways to hit them and it changes things.”

Heading into the game against Western Oregon, McDonagh wants the offense to improve on both the running and the throwing.

“We need to try to establish more of a run game,” McDonagh says. “We’ll also try to get the ball up in the air a little bit more.”

The Viks turned the ball over five times against the Beavers.

“Some guys just got a little anxious,” McDonagh says. “It’s the first game. It probably won’t happen again.”

The Vikings’ defense, which often has been the team’s Achilles’ heel, played very well against Oregon State, forcing the Beavers to settle for five field goals.

“It’s something we’ll always look back on,” defensive tackle Joe Lopez says, of the way Portland State’s defense played against Oregon State. “It was a good test, and we did fairly well. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but it’s a great way to start the season.”

Burton says the key for the defense is to develop consistency.

“We have to be the same way next week and the week after that. Then (people) will stop talking about, ‘Well our defense is struggling, but our offense is really good,’” he says. “If (the defense) can do that consistently, that’s what wins championships.”

The game against NCAA Division II Western Oregon figures to be a near-sure thing for the Vikings.

“If we get better every day,” Burton says, “there’s going to be a lot of W’s at Portland State this year.”

VOLLEYBALL: The Vikings head to Boulder, Colo., this week for matches Friday against Colorado and Saturday with Pittsburgh and Georgia Southern. Portland State lost its first three matches, falling to fifth-ranked Washington 3-0, host Boise State 3-1, and Gonzaga 3-1 at a tournament in Boise, Idaho. PSU stat leaders: Roni LaPierre (34 kills, 18 digs), Leigh-Ann Haataja (32 kills, .316 hitting, 8 blocks), Cheyne Corrado (30 kills, 13 digs), Kasimira Clark (46 digs), Katie O’Brien (9 blocks) and Erin Clark (109 assists).

WOMEN’S SOCCER: The Viks fell 5-0 at No. 21 Cal on Sunday, giving up four second-half goals. That snapped PSU’s Big Sky-record unbeaten streak at 16. It also was the first time in 20 games that the Vikings have allowed more than one goal. Two days earlier, PSU had tied San Francisco 1-1, also at USF, with freshman forward Mackenzie Bean scoring in the ninth minute and junior Caitlin Plese making five saves. Portland State (1-1-2) goes to Fort Collins, Colo., for a Friday game against Colorado State, then visits Texas Tech on Sunday.

CROSS-COUNTRY: In the Big Sky preseason coaches poll, PSU’s men were picked to finish 10th and the women were tabbed for 12th (last).