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Know Thy Enemy: Portland State Vikings

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NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 brings the Portland State Vikings to Eugene for the Ducks’ second out of conference game. They are in the Big Sky conference.

Head coach: Bruce Barnum

2017 record: 0-11 (0-8 Big Sky) 0-6 home and 0-5 away

Key numbers + info (2017 season)

OOC opponents: BYU, Oregon State, UC Davis

Points per game: 23.3

Points allowed per game: 43.0

Avg. yards per rush: 4.5

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 5.5

Avg. rush yards per game: 169.6

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 258.7

Rushing TDs: 18 for, 36 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 259.4

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 234.5

Passing TDs: 17 for, 18 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 52%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 60%

Analysis

- The Vikings return two of three starters at quarterback who got significant playing time in Jalani Eason and Davis Alexander. Of the two, Alexander was the more efficient passer, completing 57% of his passes compared to 48.9% for Eason.

- They return four of the top ten leading tacklers from last season.

- The numbers tell us that they were terrible against the run last year, allowing almost 100 more yards per game than they rushed for. Although this could be a byproduct of teams just running clock on them to keep it from being embarrassing.

- Opponents doubled up their rushing touchdown totals 36 to 18.

- The quarter by quarter scoring analysis shows that the biggest margins came in the second quarter when opponents outscored them 141-46, A margin of a whopping 94 points. The smallest margin was in the first and fourth quarters which was 26 points each. They scored the most of their points in the first quarter with 74 points.

- PSU’s 2018 OOC schedule goes like this: Nevada, Oregon, College of Idaho

- They were beaten in week one by Nevada 72-19

Keys to an Oregon win

  • A faster start. While the result was never in doubt, Oregon let Bowling Green hang around for a quarter and some change. This week, against a moribund opponent like PSU, the Ducks must start fast and let the starters sit because there were several injuries to key starters.
  • Balanced playbook. It seemed like the offensive staff didn’t know what an intermediate route tree was. It was either screens or deep shots last week. This is a pretty solid time to change that focus into working the middle.
  • Backup competence. Primarily, the backup QB. Braxton Burmeister looks like he needs a redshirt season in the worst way. He showed very little development and looked shaky even against an overmatched opponent. Maybe Tyler Shough should get a look this week. It can’t get any worse.

Bonus Facts

  • HC Bruce Barnum (no relation to now closed circus family) is in his fourth season in Portland, sporting 12-23 record.
  • Oregon’s benefactor, Phil Knight was a former adjunct professor in the School of Economics.
  • Notable football alumni include CB DeShawn Shead and TE Julius Thomas.
  • The run and shoot offense was first introduced by legendary coach Mouse Davis at PSU.
  • June Jones is a former coach of the program. Jerry Glanville is another.

What are the odds?

There are no listed odds for this week as the Ducks should beat the Vikings rather handily.

My prediction: Ducks 45 Vikings 14