Saturday the Vikings headed to Ogden, Utah, to face the winless Weber State Wildcats. Heading into the game, the Vikings held a 2–2 Big Sky Conference record.
The Vikings were coming off a tough loss against the Northern Arizona University where redshirt freshman Steven Long had a breakout performance with a dominating 253 yards on the ground for one touchdown. Unfortunately for the Vikings, turnovers and an inability to get anything consistent going in the passing game lead to the loss.
The game against the Wildcats was a completely different story for the Vikings. Three different Vikings rushed for over five yards. Running back Steven Long continued to show that he belongs in the Big Sky by putting up 118 yards on the ground and averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Fellow running back Shaq Richard averaged 6.0 yards per carry and rushed for 54 yards.
However, the offensive performance of the game belonged to Kieran McDonagh who rushed for 62 yards and was the only Viking to find the end zone on the ground. After struggling against NAU in the passing game, McDonagh put up 172 yards in the air while completing 14 of 23 passes, two of which were good for touchdowns to wide receivers Darnell Adams and Kasey Closs.
The offense wasn’t the only thing that was clicking for the Vikings. The defense also showed up big with Chevy Walker and Xavier Coleman each getting a pick and Jeremy Lutali coming up with a fumble recovery and eight tackles.
Rounding out the impressive win for the Vikings was a solid outing by kicker Johnathan Gonzales, who completed three out of three field goals for 41, 45 and 18 yards.
This was a much needed win for the Vikings, even if it was against a previously winless team. With all three teams contributing, this game showed that if they all perform, they can pull off wins—even on the road.
Next week, the Vikings won’t have to worry about winning on the road, as they are hosting the Idaho State Bengals. After the win over Weber State the Vikings are in seventh place in the Big Sky. The Bengals currently hold a 3–1 conference record, which has them tied for fourth with Montana and NAU.
A win at home against the Bengals would be huge for Portland State. Not only would they take down a conference opponent, they would also rise in the conference standings and increase their chances of making the playoffs.
Some may believe that the Vikings making the playoffs would be a long shot considering they still have to play a 4–0 Montana State team on the road, as well as host a 4–1 Eastern Washington to end the season. However, one thing that plays into their favor is that if they can pull out wins against Idaho State and Sacramento State, as well as pull off an upset win against MSU or EWU, they will be in prime contention for a shot at the postseason.