Vikings set for something different -- a win
PSU football: There's more than one reason why they're called money games. Yes, Portland State coach Bruce Barnum likes to point out that the Vikings made $575,000 for playing Oregon last week. But also, for the Ducks, a win was the closest thing to "money" outside of Fort Knox. Oregon's yawner of a 62-14 victory came without much of a sweat at Autzen Stadium.
For the Vikings, it was a chance to test themselves against a premier program and see a lot of their roster, all in preparation for what really matters. That would be the chance to snap a 15-game losing streak and then to compete in the Big Sky. The Viks play their home opener at 2 p.m. Saturday, and this time they are the big dogs; they'll take on NAIA College of Idaho at Hillsboro Stadium. C of I is 0-3, with losses to Eastern Oregon, Montana Tech and Southern Oregon. PSU begins conference play with a Sept. 22 game against Montana State, also at Hillsboro Stadium.
Portland State did its best to use up clock at Oregon and didn't show the Big Sky any of its anticipated passing game. Except that tight end Charlie Taumoepeau — the Viks' main threat — showed he could score against a major Pac-12 team just as he has done against Nevada and others. He burned the Ducks for a 71-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Jim Leavitt's defense strangely lost him a couple of other times, too, and he scored again on a 4-yard pass in the fourth quarter.
Beating Portland State moved Oregon up six notches in The Associated Press rankings. Well, not exactly, but the Ducks did climb from just outside the top 25 to No. 20. They also moved into the coaches' top 25, settling in at No. 23.
Colleges: Oregon, Portland and Lewis & Clark continued to make volleyball news last week.
The 18th-ranked Ducks knocked off No. 1 Minnesota, 3-1, before falling 3-0 to No. 5 Penn State on back-to-back days of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge at Stanford. The host Cardinal beat Minnesota 3-1 two days later. Stanford was ranked fourth and is almost always a national power.
What it all means is that at least seven teams have a serious shot at the national title this year, and the Ducks have a shot to get into that mix. Oregon has greatly shored up its back-row defense this season and is benefiting also from the move from a 6-2 to 5-1 formation, which allows standout setter August Raskie full reign. She had 66 assists vs. Minnesota.
The Pilots showed their strength by beating Hawaii 3-2 in Honolulu last week, dramatically taking the final six points for a 15-8 fifth-set triumph. Portland went 3-0 on the trip and stretched its program-best start to 9-0.
This week, Oregon visits Hawaii for Thursday and Friday matches against UH, and Portland takes on Sacramento State, Boise State and Cal State Northridge at Boise.
n Lewis & Clark got to 7-0 with two wins in Lexington, Va., prompting a spontaneous team tour of Washington, D.C. The Pioneers, under new head coach Emily Hayes, a native of Austin, Texas, and former player at Hope College in Holland, Mich., open Northwest Conference play on the road this weekend against Whitman and Whitworth.
Hops: Strange game, these baseball playoffs. The Hillsboro Hops were the dominant team in the Class A Northwest League all season. Then a pair of 3-2 losses last week to Eugene eliminated them from the postseason, leaving the Emeralds to duel with the Spokane Indians for the title. The Hops went 51-25 to win the South Division first- and second-half crowns. But Eugene derailed them in the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Hops averaged 3,429 fans per home game at Ron Tonkin Field, up by 50 from 2017.