As the Saints head to Eastern Oregon this Saturday it's a battle between two one loss teams. One thing both squads have in common: their only losses both came to Southern Oregon. With one Frontier Conference loss each, this is a make or break game for both sides.
"It's a playoff game for us," said Saints junior quarterback Mac Roche. "It's make or break. One of the teams is going to go away with a loss and have two losses, and one of them is going to keep climbing."
"I think this team likes to be in that spotlight a lot," said Saints junior linebacker Shayne Durbin. "We know that there's a target on our backs so we like to come out every week and know that we have to play our best game."
One guy that is going to have to play his best game is quarterback Mac Roche. Eastern leads the Frontier Conference with 12 interceptions, including junior corner Byron Benson who leads the Conference with four.
"You've just got to locate him," said Roche. "Every play you have to know where he's at. You've just got to try and pick your match ups."
"He's got great ball skills," said Saints head coach Mike Van Diest. "He's got great instincts and they put him in position. If they're going to get pressure on it the ball is going to get thrown up and you've got to be able to match his play with our receivers."
For Eastern's offense, sophomore QB Zach Bartlow has totaled for 69% of the teams total offense. With his ability to run as well as pass, keeping him contained is assignment number one for the Saints.
"He's not afraid to scramble," said Van Diest. "He's not afraid to pull the ball down and run. And when he does he usually gets yards. I haven't seen him sacked too many times. So we've got to contain him with our pass rush and play good coverage in the secondary."
"It's very tough, but we have a great D-line so that will help keep him contained in the pocket, and then our linebackers will have to come up and support when necessary," said Durbin.
If numbers are any indicator, the Saints should match up fine with Bartlow. For the season, the Saints have yet to give up more than 19 yards rushing to any quarterback they've seen. That kind of pressure should give them the edge in this make or break game.