Vikings go for two wins in a row
Portland State kicked the losing habit last Saturday. The Vikings got a rare win, and big upset, at Montana.
What can the Viks do something for an encore? How about their first two-game winning streak since 2015?
Coming off a shocker in Missoula — where freshman Cody Williams' 52-yard field goal with four seconds left beat the Grizzlies, 22-20 — the Viks will play host to Northern Colorado at 2 p.m. Saturday at Providence Park. PSU coach Bruce Barnum expects his team to come back down to earth in time for it.
"You enjoy the win — it felt great — but now it's, do you want that back again? Then go earn another one," Barnum says.
PSU (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) snapped a 12-game conference losing streak last week, and it was a team effort. The Vikings dominated the first half. Then Montana overcome a 13-0 deficit to go in front 14-13 and 20-19. The Viks won with a late fumble recovery by linebacker Sam Bodine at the PSU 23-yard line and then a methodical drive that ate up the remaining clock and set up Williams' third field goal of the day.
Portland State's defense held the Grizzlies' offense to 289 yards, and the PSU offense was workmanlike efficient, with 179 yards rushing and 211 yards passing, without an interception.
It was the first Big Sky victory ever at Montana for the Viks. The loss dropped the Griz from 14th and 15th in the national rankings to 22nd and 23rd.
"Fun day," Barnum says. "Crazy locker room after that one. It was a huge thing for our confidence, that we're doing things right, everything we haven't had. Some people in the program think it was bigger than we went beat Washington State (in 2015). That got us national attention, but internally, and for everyone involved here at home, this probably did mean more."
Northern Colorado comes to town at 0-6 (0-4 in the Big Sky). The Bears have played four ranked teams, though. with conference losses of 28-25 to Sacramento State, 45-28 at now-No. 13 Weber State, 38-13 to North Dakota, and 49-36 last week to current No. 14/19 UC Davis. The Bears scored the final 26 points against UC Davis, all in the last 6:42.
"They'll be as hungry as anyone," Barnum says.
The last time Northern Colorado and PSU played was in 2016, and the Bears won in overtime, 56-49, at Providence Park.
UNC coach Earnest Collins Jr., is in his eighth season. His overall record as head coach in Greeley, Colorado, is 24-58.