The Portland State Vikings (3-1, 1-1) will travel to face the North Texas Mean Green (0-4, 0-2) in a FCS vs. FBS matchup Saturday afternoon. This will be the first meeting between the two teams in school history.
Portland State lost for the first time this season as they were defeated 19-17 by North Dakota last week. North Texas was knocked off 49-14 by Southern Miss last week to remain winless on the season. Kickoff from Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET and will not be televised nationally. Due to the difference in competition level, there is no point spread or over/under set in this contest.
Portland State had their chances last week but couldn’t find a way to put away North Dakota. The Vikings led by 1 entering the final stanza, gave up an early field goal to trail by 2 and couldn’t score the rest of the way. Portland State was outgained by 149 yards, 396-247, in the game despite ending up a +1 in the giveaway/takeaway ratio. North Dakota dominated time of possession as they held the ball for 35:36 to Portland State’s 24:24; North Dakota finished with 20 first downs to Portland State’s 10 in the game.
The Vikings are averaging 26.5 points per game and they are pretty stingy defensively as they allow 12.5 points per contest. Portland State throws for 111 yards per game while averaging 205.5 yards per game on the ground. Alex Kuresa has hit 31 of 59 passes for 436 yards with two touchdowns and one interception; he leads the team in rushing with 266 yards and two scores. David Jones is the lead back with 36 carries for 202 yards; Paris Penn (24 carries, 118 yards, 2 TD) and Nate Tago (31 carries, 114 yards, 3 TD) are in the mix as well. Penn is the team’s leading receiver with eight receptions for 125 yards and a score; Thomas Carter is next in line with six grabs for 59 yards. Jonathan Gonzalez has booted all 13 extra points and five field goal attempts this season.
North Texas was never in the game against Southern Miss as they failed to score until the final quarter; by that time, they were down 35-0 in the contest. The Mean Green was outgained by 187 yards in the contest as they allowed 573 yards of offense in the game while committing the lone turnover in the contest. North Texas made Nick Mullens look like the second coming of Joe Montana as he threw for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth score in the contest.
The Mean Green is putting up an average of 201.2 yards per game through the air and 163.8 yards per game on the ground. North Texas is averaging a meager 16 points per game and they’ve stunk defensively as they are 125th in scoring defense as they allow 45 points per contest. Andrew McNulty has struggled at quarterback this season as he has completed 60 of 126 passes for 699 yards with three touchdowns and four picks while averaging 5.55 yards per attempt. Antoinne Jimmerson leads the team with 47 carries for 216 yards and a score while Jeffrey Wilson has contributed 36 carries for 210 yards on the year. Carlos Harris is far and away the top threat in the passing game with 27 receptions for 412 yards and three scores; Chris Loving (10 grabs, 126 yards, TD) is the only other player with double digit receptions. Trevor Moore has hit all seven extra points and six of nine field goals this season.
North Texas has had major issues on both sides of the ball and they’re facing a Portland State team that has already beaten Washington State this season for a FCS over FBS upset. Normally, FBS teams are pretty much a lock over FCS schools but we’ve seen upsets and near upsets already: it will be a long time before anyone forgets Jacksonville State taking Auburn to overtime on the road. Portland State has issues on offense at times but look for them to spring the upset here.