Tahlequah Daily Press

NSU Sports

October 14, 2013

The last of the giants

NSU set to face one more powerhouse

TAHLEQUAH — The first six games of the season for the Northeastern State football team would keep any coach up at night.

The RiverHawks were faced with arguably the most difficult opening to a season in the country, as the slate was littered with five ranked opponents and another receiving votes in the national polls.

NSU’s first six opponents are a combined 29-1 through five weeks.

Yikes.

The RiverHawks, 0-5 overall and 0-5 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, have scratched and clawed their way through the first five games and have battled through a tremendous amount of adversity, but one powerhouse program still remains on the docket before the schedule lightens up.

NSU is set for a road trip to St. Joseph, Mo., to finish out the treacherous start to the season. The green and white will meet No. 6 Missouri Western State at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Spratt Memorial Stadium for MWSU’s Homecoming.

“This is yet another ranked team – a top-10 team – that we will face,” NSU coach Kenny Evans said.

“This is without a doubt going to be a tough assignment, especially with the number of younger players we have to play due to injuries. To the credit of this team, we have competed every week and have given ourselves chances to win. I fully expect them to do that this week.”

After Saturday, the schedule opens up considerably for the RiverHawks.

The squad is set to close out the season with home games against Eastern New Mexico (1-3), Southwest Baptist (1-4, 1-3 MIAA) and Central Oklahoma (0-5, 0-5 MIAA), while also taking trips to Central Missouri (2-3, 1-3 MIAA) and Lincoln (1-4, 0-4 MIAA). Northeastern State’s final five opponents of the season are currently 5-19.

But before that part of the schedule begins, NSU must travel to the home of the Griffons (and home of the Kansas City Chiefs’ summer training camp).

Do the RiverHawks have an historic upset in them, or will they suffer the same fate as all others who have faced Missouri Western this season?

We’ll find out Saturday.

“Our first six opponents have only lost one game this season, so we’re getting to play the best of the best in this conference,” Evans said.

“Our young guys are getting so much experience with this schedule, and we are hoping that will pay dividends not only this week, but also down the road.”

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