Former Huskie Nigel Burton returns to Seattle to face Washington on September 15 at Century Link Field. Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Portland State Vikings

Today we bid adieu to our FCS opponents with Portland State of the Big Sky Conference. The Vikings, who went 7-4 and 5-3 in-conference last season, will travel to Seattle and face the Washington Huskies on September 15th at Century Link Field. Kickoff will be at 1:00 p.m. PT with FX broadcasting the game.

Portland State will be replacing their quarterback from how it looks on the schools’ website. Connor Kavanaugh started all 11 games in 2011. I’d say senior Nick Green,who began his career at Air Force, will get the nod at the starting position. Another option will be junior Collin Ramirez who transfers in from Butte Junior College.

Kavenaugh, in addition to being the teams’ leading passer, led the team in rushing. Their number two leading rusher, Cory McCaffrey, is also gone. Sophomore Shaquille Richard, who played in 10 games but started only two games, will be the guy. Last season, he ran for 384 yards with four touchdowns on 101 carries.

When the Vikings decide who their QB will be, they’ll be throwing to an experienced group that returns three leading receivers from last season. Seniors Justin Monahan, Nevin Lewis and tight end Kalua Noa, are the trio who’ll lead this group. Monahan had 707 yards with a team high six touchdowns, Lewis had 337 yard with two scores, and Noa only caught 17 passes but had 217 yards and also reached the endzone twice.

Third-leading tackler, senior linebacker Ian Sluss, is back to lead the defense after a 55 tackle season, 13.5 tackles for losses with three and a half sacks. Senior cornerback Mike Williams will also be counted after starting all 11 games for the Vikings last year had 40 tackles, three TFL, one sack and an interception.

Head coach Nigel Burton enters his third season and is 9-13 after his first two seasons on the field. In year one, Portland State went 2-9. Last season, they had a 7-4 campaign. If the name sounds familiar to our readers, Burton is a 1999 graduate of the University of Washington where he played safety.

Can the Vikings produce a second straight winning season? Outside of the trip to Washington they play five other road games. The schedule consists of just five home games but do end with Eastern Washington coming to Portland. Verdict is they post the winning season but miss the playoffs again.

2012 Portland State Vikings Schedule –

Carroll 9/1
@North Dakota 9/8
@Washington 9/15
Southern Utah 9/22
@Northern Arizona 9/29
Idaho State 10/6
@Cal Poly 10/20
@UC Davis 10/27
Northern Colorado 11/3
@Montana State 11/10
Eastern Washington 11/17

Check out the entire archive of “Know the Opponents,” a series of all Pac-12 non-conference opponent previews, here.

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Tags: Big Sky Big Sky Conference Big Sky Conference Football Century Link Field Fx Nigel Burton Pac-12 Pac-12 Conference Pac-12 Conference Football Pacific 12 Conference Pacific 12 Football Portland State Portland State Vikings Portland State Vikings Football Seattle Washington Washington Huskies Washington Huskies Football

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