Northern Arizona at Portland State football: How to watch; what to watch for
After three challenging road games to open the season, 0-3 Portland State welcomes 1-3 Northern Arizona to Hillsboro Stadium this weekend. Both the Vikings and the Lumberjacks are 0-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
HOW TO WATCH
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1
Where: Hillsboro Stadium (7,600)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Vikings should be pretty revved-up to play a home game, especially after two one-sided losses at 15th-ranked Washington and at Montana, ranked No. 2 at the FCS level.
Coach Bruce Barnum promised a fun change to the offense this week as they work to use the strengths of mobile first-year quarterback Dante Chachere, who has thrown for 382 yards and three touchdowns and run for a team-leading 124 yards (168 positive yards).
This could be a low-scoring contest, especially if the PSU defense regains the swagger it showed in the narrow season-opening loss at San Jose State. The Vikings will be without All-American defensive back Anthony Adams from Newberg (long-term ankle injury) and might be without sophomore linebacker Parker McKenna out of Beaverton.
Portland State (13.0 points/241.7 yards) and Northern Arizona (11.8/267.8) are ranked 11th and 12th in the Big Sky Conference in offensive production. The Vikings can point to a solid 395-yard outing in their opener at San Jose State as reason to expect the offense it come around against defenses they match up better with.
Not that the Lumberjacks are a pushover on defense. NAU's lone victory is a quality 10-3 road win at Sam Houston State.
Special teams figures to get attention this week for PSU after Montana scored on a 99-yard missed field goal return and on a 72-yard punt return last week.
It's Homecoming for Portland State. Check GoViks.com for activities.
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