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Fighting the Vikings: Preview of Arkansas vs. Portland State

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The Vikings from Portland will be raiding Fayetteville on August 31st. Who are they?

Arkansas Spring Game Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Introduction

We’re beautifully close to football season, and even though last year was the worst year of all time, there’s actually some reason to be hopeful. For that reason, we’re breaking down each game we’ll play this year, and exploring a little bit about each opponent. Ultimately we’ll make some levels of predictions about our chances, for better or for worse. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @ArkansasFight to keep up with all the latest posts, and don’t forget to sign up to be a pollster for our site!

Week 1- August 31, 2019

Opponent:

Portland State

Where:

Fayetteville— on a BRAND NEW GRASS FIELD! Kickoff is at 3pm CT. Wear sunscreen!

Their Coach:

The Portland State Vikings are coached by Bruce Barnum, who is 16-29 as head coach. They play in the Big Sky Conference in Portland, Oregon. Barnum attended both East Washington State and West Washington State, cementing his knowledge of the state of Washington in all lateral directions. He won the STATS FCS Coach of the Year and the Big Sky Coach of the Year, both in 2015 after the Vikings finished 9-3. Barnum has previously been derided for talking smack about his opponents— perhaps we’ll get some juicy tidbits to fuel our fandom before the first game. Everyone in Arkansas loves booing a big mouth.

Our Record Against Them:

Arkansas has never played Portland State. However, Arkansas as an entity has played 4 schools beginning with the letter “P,” boasting a 10-2-1 record. Those two losses came to Pierce City College in 1901 and 1902— truly a dark time in program history. These defeats came after a victory in 1900. Curious about the other “P” schools and our records? Pacific (1-0, last played in 1988), Phillips College (4-0-1, last played in 1925), and Pittsburgh (the Kansas one) State (4-0, last played in 1936).

Key Players:

Charlie Taumoepeau: The Viking tight end is making all kinds of noise in the Big Sky and FCS media. He’s been selected unanimously as an FCS Preseason All-American, and is one of 25 players on the Walter Payton Award— the FCS’ Heisman equivalent. He’s 6-3, 245 lbs, and led the division in both yards per catch (36.2) and touchdowns (5) after three weeks. Unfortunately, his season was muddled by injuries, but he’s apparently recovered well, and obviously has lots of preseason hype. The defense will have to be aware of his presence at all times.

A Very Short Recap of Their Last Season:

The Vikings went 4-7 after a dismal 0-11 campaign in 2017. Yes, Hog fans— it could be worse. They played two FBS opponents— Nevada and Oregon— and lost 72-19 and 62-14 respectively. That’s got to be encouraging to the offensive coaches, as hopefully they’ll be able to get things fine tuned. In FCS play, the Vikings went a better 4-5. That’s got to be better than going winless.

How We Feel About Our Chances:

If we don’t win this game, they need to just go ahead and pull the plug on the season. This is a favorable matchup, and the Hogs’ talent alone should be able to pull them through. I hope that’s not the case, but as we’ve learned through the years, you can’t take anything for granted. This should be a comfortable win, and should allow some of the youngsters to get some playing time, which may prove very beneficial if they’re called up during some SEC games.

Thanks for checking out the first part of our series on Arkansas’ 2019 Football Season, be sure to sign up for our SB Nation poll, and follow @ArkansasFight on Twitter. For other opinions and hopefully more joke-bits, follow @TuckerPartridge.