It's round two between the Saints and Southern Oregon. The Raiders are the only team to beat Carroll this season, which they did in the Saints first game 38-35. The biggest issue for the Saints in that game? They gave up almost 300 rushing yards to the Raiders, more than double their season average. Stopping the run will be key this week if they want to avenge the early season loss.
"We've got to stop the run this time around," said Saints linebacker Sean Blomquist. "We've focused a lot on the pass, and not as much on the run last time. But we didn't do a very good job of it last year or last game."
"We've got to make better adjustments on the field as a coaching staff during the game, at halftime, and I didn't do that," said Saints head coach Mike Van Diest. "We had some players misaligned, and we didn't adjust it in time. We had some defenses that maybe weren't the best defenses to call in certain situations."
Their first game against Southern was also Mac Roche's first game at quarterback. And after posting 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions so far this season, it's safe to say the Raiders will defend him differently than game one.
"Southern Oregon didn't know what to expect from Mac Roche," said Van Diest. "They know what Mac Roche is about. They've seen it week after week. They've got all the film on him. They know he's a very special football player."
"First career start I had some jitters," said Saints quarterback Mac Roche. "First couple of drives I think we went three and out, three and out so we'll see. It's kind of hard to tell what they're going to do. They might play us a little bit different, but I bet we get a lot of the same looks."
I talked with several players this week who all said the same thing about this game: it's like the conference championship. That's how they view it. One final note, someone is leaving this game with a big loss. The Saints haven't lost a home game since 2011, and the Raiders haven't lost a game this season! Someone's streak will have to end!