HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Portland State.
PORTLAND STATE (0-11 IN 2017)
Big Sky (PSU was 13th in 2017)
COACH: Bruce Barnum – 4th year (12-22 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 23.3 ppg. (64th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 43.0 ppg. (121st in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Not too long ago, 2015 to be exact, Portland State went 9-3 with two FBS wins and a trip to the playoffs. Things have unraveled since then, but there is cause for some excitement despite being picked to finish last in both preseason Big Sky polls. The Vikings lose significant experience on both sides of the ball but have brought in several transfers to fill those gaps. Top rusher Jason Talley and leading passer Davis Alexander are back along with stud tight end Charlie Taumoepeau. Linebacker Kasun Jackett returns after leading the team in tackles last year. Important pieces remain, but adding more depth and talent is going to be key for the Vikings to notch some wins.
As far as the transfers, two are FBS and four come from the junior college ranks. The offense could get a boost from former Ball State running back Darian Green and former Western Kentucky running back Quinton Baker. Green led Ball State in rushing as a sophomore in 2015 with 730 yards and five touchdowns. The PSU offensive line lost key guys but brought in two JuCo offensive linemen, Babak Ghadaksaz and Alex Rockwell. There's also hope quarterback Danny Velasquez and receiver Jacob Bystry, both JuCo transfers, can add some explosion.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Go .500 in conference play. That's the first step in getting this team back its "Barney Ball" mojo. The two opening nonconference games are tough ones against FBS Nevada and Oregon. But showing the ability to compete in those games can carry some confidence into the Big Sky schedule.
TOP RETURNEE: TE Charlie Taumoepeau (All-Big Sky 2nd Team)
THE NEXT BEST: QB Davis Alexander (1,233 yards passing, 5 TDs, 3 INT.); RB Jason Talley (388 yards rushing, 6 TDs); LB Kasun Jackett (leading tackler, 91 total); S Braxton Winterton (59 total tackles)
TOP NEWCOMER: RB Darian Green (Ball State transfer, 1089 careers yards, 5 TDs)
DID YOU KNOW?: The "Run & Shoot" offense was first implemented at the college level at PSU by coach Darryl "Mouse" Davis.
THE QUOTE: "I had to fix the vibe at Portland State in my locker room and in my coaching staff. So along with that, you have to make some tough decisions and we made those. I love where Portland State is right now. And actually, I love that we're picked at the bottom because right now nobody is expecting anything." — Head Coach Bruce Barnum said at media days
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #BarnyBall
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @psuviksFB