Portland State Football is traveling to Nacogdoches, Texas, this week to play Stephen F. Austin State University. Along with the face guards, shoulder pads and jockstraps, the Vikings will be packing some heavy hopes for redemption in their carry-on luggage. The Vikings acknowledge that they have something to prove to the Lumberjacks, as well as to themselves.
There seems to be no such thing as easy competition for Vikings football, but I dare say we have a chance against the Lumberjacks. This week, the Vikings stand 2-2 and need to steer clear of a possible three-game losing streak. The Lumberjacks also have a 2-2 record for the season, but their two wins have come against 1-A teams Louisiana Monroe and Alcorn State. SFA is armed with a wicked running game led by Ron Middleton, who’s got a whopping 165 yards with two touchdowns, and who is accompanied by Cliff Edwards, who is responsible for 190 yards running and three touchdowns. However, Portland State has beaten Stephen F. Austin the past two years and could have the mental edge.
This is a big game for both teams, and it’s going to come down to mental motivation on both sides of the field. When asked about his predictions for the game, coach Tim Walsh says, “We need to win. We need to continue to play better. Although the score might not show it, we made some major improvements in the game against Fresno (compared to the Nicholls State game), and we need to continue to play our game. You can’t change the final score, but you never can accept losing. We’re out here to win.”
Walsh is right. The Vikings did make some serious improvements in last week’s game. In fact, quarterback Joe Wiser has now been nicknamed “The Minute Man” because of his awesome last half, one-minute “scheme,” as he calls it, in the final plays of the Fresno game. Wiser’s offensive game earned him 80 yards in five plays against Fresno, all of which occurred in just 45 seconds. The plays ended in a 15-yard touchdown pass. It seems that The Minute Man has got the magic touch when it comes to down-to-the-wire offense. As far as Wiser is concerned, this game against the Lumberjacks is a huge one.
“This is a game we have got to win,” he says. “We have had two disappointing weeks, and a win this weekend will give us back some confidence. We’ve been working really hard to improve our game and have come up with some offensive schemes.”
For the most part, the Vikings football static is still up in the air. Depending on the outcome of the game against SFA, the team’s momentum could go either way. The PSU-SFA takes place Oct. 4 and can be heard on 620 AM at 5 p.m. The Vikings know that they need a win this week, and they appear to be dead set on getting it. Go Viks!