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Offense leads the way at Portland State again

Quarterback Kieran McDonagh, a sophomore from Vancouver’s Skyview High, is off to terrific start for 2-1 Portland State. He has completed 41 of 70 passes for 855 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception — 

despite not playing for large portions of the Vikings’ opener against Eastern Oregon and last week’s game against Humboldt State.

“He’s really, really, really good,” PSU coach Nigel Burton says. “The best part is I don’t think he’s satisfied with the way he played last week (21 of 31 for 377 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-6 home win).”

• Eleven Vikings have caught a pass.

“We have a lot of weapons,” McDonagh says. “We have guys all over making plays. That’s what we need to see. I’m very confident (in the receivers). I worked with them all summer and all fall camp. We’ve got some timing, and I know where they’re going to be each and every play.”

• Portland State faces an odd situation this week when it travels to face 0-3 UC Davis. Although the Aggies also are a Big Sky team, the 6 p.m. Saturday game will not count in the conference standings.

• Portland State’s run game has been a good complement to the air attack. DJ Adams and Shaquille Richard have split time, with Adams totaling 283 yards and five touchdowns on 48 carries and Richard netting 215 yards and two TDs on 25 carries.

“We’re a good one-two punch. We can switch things up and give us a change of pace,” Richard says. “We understand that the person who has the hot hand is going to be in the game. It keeps us fresher, and we’re ready to go whenever we get in there.”

• Ball security has been a problem for the Vikings. PSU already has lost nine fumbles.

“If you’re turning the ball over, that’s bad stuff,” Burton says. “You can’t put the ball on the ground.”

“We’re going to make the adjustments,” McDonagh says.

• Throughout Burton’s three-year-plus tenure, defense has been a weak link. The Vikings allowed 40.5 points per game in 2010, 28 in 2011 and 36 in 2012. So far this year, Portland State is giving up 20 per game.

“We still have a long way to go,” Burton says, “but they’re starting to come into their own and understand a little more about how we’re going to play.”

“Finally we have some consistency,” middle linebacker Jaycob Shoemaker says. “The guys up front, it starts with them. They’re getting after it every play. If they keep doing that, the sky is the limit for us.”

VOLLEYBALL: The Viks open Big Sky play at Stott Center with matches Saturday against Sacramento State and Monday versus Eastern Washington. PSU went 3-7 in nonconference play, Sac State was 5-6 and EWU 3-8. The Vikings have been picked by the Big Sky coaches to defend their regular-season title. EWU was tabbed for sixth in the 11-team league; Sac State was sixth in the preseason vote.

SOCCER: The PSU women are 3-4-0 going into Sunday’s 1 p.m. match at Hillsboro Stadium with San Francisco (5-2-0). Junior Eryn Brown from Camas, Wash., leads the Viks with 13 points (five goals, three assists).