#44 Portland State FCS Football 2020 Preview

Portland State Vikings
Overall Rank: #44
#8 Big Sky
 Portland State Logo
Back in 2015, during Coach Bruce Barnum’s first season leading Portland State, he took the Vikings to the playoffs. Two years later and the squad went 0-11. Coach Barnum and his staff have spent the last two years rebuilding the team after that forgettable 2017 campaign. The results have been slow, but this team is getting better. That may not push Portland State to the playoffs in 2020, but it should be a step in the right direction.
2019 Record: 5-7, 3-5
2019 Postseason: None
Coach: Bruce Barnum (21-36 at Portland State, 21-36 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Leunen
Defensive Coordinator: Payam Saadat
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Davis Alexander, QB, 517 yards
Passing: Davis Alexander, QB, 2,928 yards
Receiving: Emmanuel Daigbe, WR, 651 yards
Tackles: Anthony Adams, S, 56
Sacks: Jake Porter, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Anthony Adams, S, 5
Other Key Returnees: RB Malik Walker, WR Davis Koetter, WR Mataio Talalemotu, WR Beau Kelly, LB Dylan Hanley, S David Joseph, K Cody Williams
Key Losses: RB Sirgeo Hoffman, TE Charlie Taumoepeau, OL Garrett Stauffer, S Sam Inos, DT Anthony Del Toro, DE Shawn Richard, DE Romeo Gunt, CB Deon Crayon
Quarterback Davis Alexander will be a great senior leader for this offense. Last year the 5-11 signal caller threw for 2,928 yards and 25 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He also rushed for 517 yards and five more scores. With the exception of tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, Davis will have all of his favorite targets back too. Emmanuel Daigbe led the way catching 40 passes for 651 yards, while Davis Koetter was right behind him with 38 receptions for 626 yards. Those two combined to catch 15 touchdowns. Mataio Talalemotu and Beau Kelly caught 31 passes each and provide the Vikings with more dangerous and experienced wide receiver options. Portland State will want to run a balanced offense though and that means somebody will have to replace running back Sirgeo Hoffman. Senior Malik Walker is the obvious choice after rushing for 284 yards on 66 carries last season, but there are not many proven options to choose from.  
The even bigger issues are on defense where much of the defensive front needs to be replaced. Junior Jake Porter will have to shoulder much of the load after tallying 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks last season. There is quite a bit of experience at linebacker with seniors Steffen Jacobsen, Nicolas Ah Sam and Dylan Hanley ready to step up their production. The secondary will miss safety Sam Inos, but there is still quite a bit of talent here. Most notable is All-American Anthony Adams, who tallied 56 tackles, five interceptions and an amazing 24 passes defended in 2019. Ryan Lesch is a senior, but the rest of the returning secondary is very inexperienced. That is why Portland State went out and picked up some transfers to help fill the holes. This was not a great passing defense last year and if those new players are not ready to go, Portland State could find themselves in quite a few shootouts this year.
The Bottom Line:
This probably will not be a Vikings team that can seriously compete for a Big Sky title, but it is a team that has the talent to make things interesting on any given day. After a home date against Montana State on September 26th, Portland State will need to be ready to go. Their next five games, including a non-conference game against North Dakota, are the most winnable on the schedule and they may need to win all five if there are going to be any playoff hopes.
Projected Postseason: None
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 195.8 (26th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 256.8 (32, 7)
Total Offense: 452.5 (16, 4)
Scoring Offense: 34.7 (18, 5)
Rushing Defense: 139.3 (35, 5)
Pass Defense: 271.0 (113, 10)
Total Defense: 410.3 (82, 5)
Scoring Defense: 30.0 (80, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.17 (49, 4)
Sacks: 2.50 (32, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (106, 12)
Madness 2020 Recruit Rankings:
#263 Jernias Tafia
#269 Nate Bennett