Portland State's football season ended Saturday, and the Vikings would rather look ahead than behind.

For the players who will make up the core of next year's team, the frustration sank in immediately after a 25-14 loss to Montana State at PGE Park.

'Losing is nothing but pain,' junior tailback Ryan Fuqua says of PSU's 4-7 season. 'We had much bigger expectations for this season, so it's been very disappointing.

'But we had a lot of young guys who got a lot of playing time, and we showed that we can play tough against teams, that we have guys who are ready to fight. Now, we just start getting ready for next year.'

After a 2-0 start, Portland State lost seven of its last nine games and had a losing record for the first time in five years.

The Vikings were just 1-6 in the Big Sky Conference and lost their last four games, despite having the lead in each one.

Fuqua might have been the most frustrated Viking Ñ he finished with just 840 yards rushing after a combined 2,869 as a freshman and sophomore.

Injuries to the offensive line hurt the Vikings, and junior QB Joe Wiser missed three weeks of practice because of injury Ñ although that didn't keep him out of any games. Wiser threw for 2,513 yards, but the passing game was generally ineffective, and the Vikings finished as the least productive offense in the eight-team conference.

Wiser says injuries definitely hurt the Viks.

'It's difficult to get everyone on the same page when you're looking at different faces every week,' Wiser says. 'But that's no excuse. We have to get past that and have every guy buy into the program.'


Coach Tim Walsh expects to sign as many as 10 high school seniors and six junior college transfers, although those numbers easily could fluctuate. É The Vikings will lose 16 seniors and return six starters on both offense and defense.

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