The schedule is starting to pick up for the Griffons, and no.12 Pittsburg State is where the challenge begins.
After falling to Western in a consequential 63-14 loss last year, the Gorillas look to bounce back with an upset of their own this Saturday.
Pittsburgh Sate is 6-1, and are coming off their first loss of the season against Northwest Missouri State.
Before that game, the Gorillas were undefeated and seemed to be on cruise control.
The Bearcats defense dominated the Gorillas by getting to quarterback Anthony Abenoja for five sacks.
Abenoja not only threw two interceptions in the game, but the running game only totaled 87 yards on the ground.
Pittsburg State has explosive weapons in running back Jeff Seybold and wideout John Brown.
Seybold is the leading rusher for the team, with 731 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brown leads the team in receptions with 42, along with nine touchdowns.
Western has struggled in the beginning of games as of late, but have closed games out all season up to this point.
With the big play ability of Seybold and Brown, Western cannot afford to make a lackluster start in this match-up.
Linebacker Stephen Juergens and Nick Williams are the leading tacklers for the Griffons, and they hope to set the tone for the defense early.
Quarterback Travis Partridge will be playing in his last game against the Gorillas, and a big game from him could be the determining factor of the ball game.
Running back Raphael Spencer is improving as he continues to get more carries.
Spencer is the teams leading rusher and also leads the team in rushing touchdowns.
He noted that a loss to Pittsburg State would be a crucial loss to their season, and their record would be irrelevant.
“Being 7-0 is good, but it doesn’t mean anything if we lose to Pitt,” Spencer said. “We know that they want pay back after we beat them in their place, so taking care of the little things will be crucial this week.”
Tight end Reggie Jordan said that he is expecting the best from the Gorillas. He understands that they would love to sneak out of Spratt Stadium with a win.
“This week is definitely going to be a grind,” Jordan said. “I am expecting their best shot. We embarrassed them at their house last year, so they would love nothing more than to do the same this year.”
As for being 7-0, Jordan said that improving was the important thing, not the record.
“8-0 sounds better,” Jordan said. “I don’t really feed into stuff like that because it gets you sidetracked sometimes. I’m just focused on this week.”