Friday, September 25, 2009

Game Thought About Weber State

by Allison Whited, Vanguard Staff

Not that my opinion means much, but from now on, before Saturday's football game, I'm going to write a brief article about how I think the game is going to play out. I will provide some analysis of the opponent and mention what I think will be the key aspects of a Viking victory.

This week's opponent is Weber State. They shared the conference title with Montana last year, so this game is a biggie. In his media call this week, coach Glanville sounded a little bitter about this week's match up. He again and again reiterated that the Vikings have never played well in the game following last week's opponent Montana. Traditionally, the schedule has seen Glanville's men face Montana State after Montana, so this year Glanville asked for a change. This adjustment to the schedule leaves Portland State playing the two conference title holders from last year in consecutive weeks. Ouch.

Weber State has a record of 1-2 with their sole win coming over Big Sky competitor Idaho State. They entered the season with the league's top returning rusher, passer, and receiver.

Opponent Analysis

It will be all eyes on No. 25, running back Trevyn Smith. He is currently fifth on the Big Sky Conference's all-time leading rushers board. He needs just 110 yards tomorrow to move into third. He enters the game averaging 115.7 yards per game. He has also racked up 117 receiving yards so far.

Receiver Tim Toone will be quarterback Cameron Higgins's main target, but I would look for Cody Nakamura to have a good day. He has only 79 receiving yards less than Toone's 263, but twice as many touchdowns. I believe he will have to step up because the Viking secondary is going to put the squeeze on Toone.

The Wildcat defense doesn't strike me as overly stiff. They give up 373 yards of offense per game, and have only registered five sacks on the season. Their strong man on defense, at least statistically, is middle linebacker Taylor Sedillo who has 24 total tackles on the season. That's a respectable, but not mind blowing, 8 per game average, and he has not had a game in which he made more than 10 tackles.

Their secondary also seems a little thin with only three interceptions.

Viking Analysis

Enough can't be said about run defense in this game. If you take away Smith, there is no Wildcat running game. The next leading Weber State rusher is Bo Bolen who has had ten carries for a net 35 yards on the season. The run defense did look good at practice this week, I have to say.

Taking away the run would also force the Wildcats to the air where Higgins does make mistakes; he has thrown seven picks. I've said it many times, but I really like the Viking secondary. It is steady and has big play ability on every snap.

Offensively, the Vikings need to just play their game. Weber State allows an average of 221.7 yards through the air and 151.3 rushing yards per game. I don't want to say specifically what I saw the offense doing this week at practice, but I will say I don't like it. If you have a quarterback you can trust, and I think Hubel is certainly trustworthy, I say take the training wheels off and do it often.

The offensive line will stay strong, despite Moses Punzal's absence and Adam Kleffner's undetermined status. Kyle Ritt did a good job filling in this week, but Manual Rojas missed some stuff and was chastised on a couple of occasions. Lucky for them, the Wildcats don't appear, at least numerically, to have a severe pass rush.

In the End...

For the Vikings to win, they have to play perfect football, something they have not as of yet showed an ability to do. I'm more hopeful than Glanville seemed this week during the media call, but, at the end of the day, it will probably go the Wildcats. Their offense has all three parts working together like a machine.