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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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First look at Portland State vs. Washington State

When/where: Saturday, 5 p.m., Martin Stadium, Pullman

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Records: Portland State (1-1); WSU (0-2)

Last time: Washington State defeated Portland State 48-9 in Pullman (2008)

What it means for WSU

The Cougars badly need a win, and while beating an FCS team like the Vikings won’t catch the eye of any college football playoffs selection committee members, it will help the team and fans flush the last two losses and head into Pac-12 play without the specter of a possible winless season over their heads.

What it means for PSU

The Vikings haven’t achieved the “giant killer” status of their Big Sky brethren in Cheney, but they have been close under head coach Nigel Burton. Portland State gave Oregon State a scare in Corvallis earlier this season and only lost by a touchdown at California a year ago. Eastern Washington used last year’s win over the Beavers to earn some national credibility, and a win over WSU could do the same for the Vikings.

Key matchup

Darryl Monroe vs. Shaquille Richard and Paris Penn

The Washington State coaches have been underwhelmed so far with middle linebacker Darryl Monroe’s play through the first two games of the season. Monroe started every game in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, and was taken to media day as the presumed leader of WSU’s defense. But he hasn’t been the force in the middle of the defense that was expected and it has cost the Cougars in the running-stopping game. Portland State has a pair of capable backs in Shaquille Richard and Paris Penn, and each average about 80 yards per game on the ground. Keeping them in check would be a good first step to showing that Monroe can still be the player WSU needs him to be.

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