Portland State throwing new wrinkle at Washington — defense
In the latest version of David versus Goliath, the Vikings are turning to a different type of stone.
PORTLAND — The view from his grandfather’s seats on the Washington sideline of Husky Stadium were tough to beat, Portland State defensive tackle VJ Malo says.
“My first win was when Nick Foles threw it, someone kicked it and Mason Foster ran it back for the pick-six,” said Malo, who grew up in West Seattle. “That was my first win.
“That was my dream school.”
But Malo was never Washington’s dream player.
And while that has been great for the Portland State Vikings, Malo isn’t shy about the chip he’s carrying on his shoulder this weekend as Portland State travels to Seattle to face Washington. Of course, you’ll always hear that sort of cliche when FCS teams play Power 5 schools, but for once in coach Bruce Barnum’s eight years leading the program, the chipped shoulder the Vikings lead with comes from the defensive side of the ball.
At 6-foot-1 and 270 pounds, Malo is an undersized wrecking ball who played two seasons of all-conference junior college ball before making his FCS debut last year with the Vikings. His 10.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss were the most by a Viking since 1988.
“Washington didn’t even look at me coming out of high school, or coming out of junior college,” he said. “Them turning their back on someone from their own hometown, that just kind of ate at me a while.”