Portland State, Cal State Northridge's football opponent on Saturday, continues to struggle in its second Division I-AA season after much success in Division II.
The Vikings, coming off a 3-8 season, are 0-4, 0-2 in Big Sky Conference play. And they are losing key players along the way.
In a 56-21 loss last Saturday against Northern Arizona, Portland State played the second half without starting quarterback Jimmy Blanchard and tailbacks Charles Dunn, Gary Clemons and Shannon Johnson.
All of them left the game because of injuries and Coach Tim Walsh said he is unsure of their status for the game against Northridge.
In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Walsh was jokingly asked whether he was injured.
"Mentally," he said, laughing.
Leave it to a skeptical football coach.
Walsh said the Vikings are preparing for Northridge with the assumption that Matador quarterback Aaron Flowers will play.
Flowers suffered a hairline fracture in his lower right leg in the game against Azusa Pacific on Sept. 20 and is out for possibly three more weeks.
"I've seen other miracles happen," Walsh said.
Despite not playing last Saturday, Northridge moved up in one poll and slipped in another.
The Matadors (2-2) are 120th--down three spots--in the Sagarin Computer ratings for the 233 teams in NCAA Division I-A and I-AA. CSUN moved to 30th from 31st in The Sports Network I-AA poll.