RUN AND SHOOT: Portland State has led the FCS in passing in each of the past two seasons averaging 372.2 yards in 2008 and 360.9 in 2007. Although there will be more focus on the ground game this year, the passing offense should be in fine hands with six of the top eight receivers, who had 24 or more catches last year, returning. Three (Moses Punzal, Tyler Staley and Matt Leunen) of its five starting offensive lineman return as well. With a lot of passing comes many turnovers though as the offense gave the ball away 31 times which was the second most in the Big Sky.
ON THE FLIP SIDE: The running game was basically non-existent last year as the team rushed for a total of 750 yards and seven touchdowns -- that's 503 less yards and four less touchdowns than Jacquizz Rodgers. FB Bobby McClintock, a preseason All-American, was the only player to reach triple digits (457 yards | 6 TDS).
HUBEL HOMECOMING: Despite all of the orange and black in the stands Corvallis High graduate Drew Hubel may feel right at home in Reser Stadium - and that normally means a bad day for the opposing team's secondary. In seven career games in PGE Park Hubel has completed 196-326 passes (.601) for 2,624 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has won Big Sky Player of the Week honors three times in five starts in Portland. Last year, at home, he torched Eastern Washington for 623 yards and five touchdowns on 44 of 73 (60%) pass attempts with zero interceptions.
ROAD WOES: Portland State is riding a six game road losing streak after failing to pick up a victory away from Oregon last season. It was their first winless record on the road since 1996. Under Glanville the Vikings are just 2-10 when away from PGE Park.
SUPPORTING THE TROOPS: Head coach Jerry Glanville shed his usual white hat with the Viking logo on the front and donned on a blue U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division hat Aug. 10 for the opening of the Vikings fall camp. He will wear the hat every day until the Oregon troops return from Iraq. The hat was given to him by Army recruiters on campus.
VS. THE FBS: The Vikings have lost four in a row to NCAA FBS programs and sport a 2-24 all time against NCAA FBS schools, including 0-7 against Pac-10 teams. The Vikings two wins are over Hawai’i of the WAC (2000) and New Mexico of the Mountain West Conference (2006).
WONDERFUL WOODS: Receiver/returner Aaron Woods is one of the most dangerous players in the Big Sky. He averaged a Big Sky-best 178.9 all-purpose yards per game last season while setting school records for kickoff returns (35) and kickoff return yards (908) in a year. The 5-foot-6, 180-pound athlete also became just the 14th Viking in history with 1,000 receiving yards, catching 66 passes for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: The 2009 Portland State team returns its largest contingent of returning players under Glanville as 38 letter winners and 16 starters are back. However, Glanville also has 17 redshirt or true freshmen listed among the two-deeps.
SOME GOOD, SOME BAD: The Viking defense gave up a whopping 451.5 yards per game last year, but also forced 29 turnovers, a Big Sky best, in 11 games. The defense is led by linebacker brothers Erik (84 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Ryan Pedersen (64 tackles, 3 sacks). Sophomore cornerback DeShawn Shead turned in a standout freshman campaign a year ago leading the Big Sky Conference in interceptions (6). The defensive line returns three starters in SR DE Joe Ma’aseia, SR DT Jermaine Jacobs and JR DE Travis Beckley.
HOT AND COLD: In four wins last year, Portland State converted 50% of its third-down opportunities. In seven losses, the Vikings converted just 22% of their third downs. Overall PSU ranked last in the league in third-down conversions at 33%.
THE VIKING STARS: Portland State had three players earn preseason All-Big Sky Conference honors heading into the 2009 campaign. SR FB Bobby McClintock, SR ILB Erik Pedersen and SO CB DeShawn Shead were all named to the preseason All-Conference team. McClintock rushed for 457 yards and six touchdowns, and caught 34 passes for 287 yards in 2008. Pedersen is the Vikings’ top returning tackler with 84 stops in 2008. Shead was the Vikings’ leading defensive back, making six interceptions, seven pass breakups and 51 tackles last season.
THE GLANVILLE FILE: Jerry spent nine years (1985-93) in the NFL as the head coach of the Houston Oilers and the Atlanta Falcons compiling a 60-69 record. He is 7-15 in two seasons at Portland State and holds an 0-2 record against NCAA I FBS opponents. Glanville is 1-1 in season openers at Portland State.
SOLID KICKER: SR K/P Danny Urrego set new school records for field goals made (15) and attempted (23) in a season, and field goal percentage for a career (.719, 23/32). Urrego handled punting duties last season averaging 40.5 yards per kick, but will be supplanted by freshman Thomas Duyndam who is a native of Melbourne, Australia. Duyndam, the first player from Australia to play for PSU, grew up playing Aussie Rules "footie." He played one season of American Football (or “Gridiron”) in Australia and was named Punter of the Year in 2008.