2005 Preview: Portland State

RB Joe Rubin

A solid defensive unit returns after dominating several Big Sky statistical categories a year ago.

2004 RECORD:  7-4 overall, 4-3 in Big Sky play (T-3)

HEAD COACH: Tim Walsh, 77-59 overall in 12 seasons at Portland State

KEY ADDITIONS:  LB Adam Hayward, P/K Andrew Levers

KEY LOSSES:  QB Joe Wiser, DT Chris Berg, LB Tolo Tuitele, DT Chuck Jones

OFFENSE:  PSU led the Big Sky in rushing last year averaging 204 yards per contest.  Senior running back Joe Rubin returns after a strong season as a part time starter racking up 825 yards and 7 touchdowns.  He's joined by All-Big Sky and preseason All-Amercian fullback Allen Kennett who rumbled for a team high 10 touchdowns in 2004.  The offensive line is anchored by consensus preseason All-American center Antonio Narcisse.  The unit gave up a league low 10 sacks last year and have second team all-conference guard Peter St. John returning in addition to two senior tackles in Steve Blatchely and Adriam Limbrick.

The Vikings leading receiver last year Shaun Bodiford returns after hauling in 40 passes for 587 yards and five touchdowns to earn second team All-Big Sky honors.  Former Pac-10 quarterback/wide receiver Nic Costa returns to Oregon as a receiver and will play a factor in the Vikings passing attack.  A pair of seniors return in Adam Whitehead and Scott Weaver to handle the tight end duties.

Senior quarterback Sawyer Smith finally gets his chance on the field after backing up Joe Wiser for two years.  Smith is big at 6-5, 230 pounds and is efficient with his passes.

DEFENSE:  Almost every major defensive Big Sky statistical category was dominated by the Vikings in 2004.  This year looks to be no different as the team returns both safeties and both Big Sky corners.  Senior safeties Jamal Abdullah and Steven Shinen combined for 78 tackles and 4 interceptions last season.  Sophomore Jordan Senn saw spot duty but earned first team All-Big Sky honors as a specialist.

Cornerback Dominic Dixon may be the best player on the defense after earning first team honors as a sophomore.  The other corner spot is up for grabs between Odell Jackson and Condrew Allen.

All-conference linebacker Joey King leads the charge in the middle after finishing second on the team in tackles last year with 63.  The other two linebackers have not been determined as a number of players are still competing for the starting spots.

SPECIAL TEAMS:  Kicker Eric Azorr returns after making a school record 37-extra points last season.  Azor is also competing for punting duties with junior college transfer Andrew Levers.

Record setting punt returner Brandon Ferrigo returns after establishing school records in punt return yards in a season (311) and punt return yards in a career (509).  Ferrigo also handled kickoff duties with a 21-yard return average.

BY THE NUMBERS:  The Vikings led the Big Sky in total defense (346.3 ypg), scoring defense (20.3 ppg) and rush defense (111.6 ypg) in 2004.

PICKED TO FINISH:  The Vikings were picked to finish third in the Big Sky Conference by the coaches' poll, fourth by the media and fifth by the fans.

 


RB Joe Rubin (goviks.com)

 


WR Shawn Bodiford (goviks.com)

 


LB Joey King (goviks.com)

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