Though they're mired in a four-game losing streak, Lindenwood-Belleville coach Jeff Fisher said his young team has remained focused on the big picture, and that it is getting better as a team.
"I think our kids are handling the situation incredibly well," Fisher said. "There is an attitude that, 'I'm tired of this and I'm going to make it change,' but there's also a confidence that, 'I know I'm getting better.' That's important.
"We don't have kids that are hanging their heads and pouting, and at the same time, we don't have kids who are smiling and laughing and doing jumping jacks and acting like all is great with the world."
The Lynx will travel to Bourbonnais to play the Olivet Nazarene Tigers on Saturday. It's the third of four straight road games.
The Lynx are coming off a 41-27 loss to Division II Arkansas-Monticello.
Fisher said Arkansas-Monticello was simply physically superior to his squad, and it showed in the Lynx being penalized 14 times for 120 yards.
"There's no question that there was a difference between the two teams physically," Fisher said. "Arkansas-Monticello was the best team physically and talent-wise that we've played in our two years.
"You get in a situation where every single offensive lineman out there is 6-3 or 6-4, 300-plus pounds and physical. You have to work so hard to find a way to have success, and you end up jumping offsides because you have to get an edge on somebody because they have a step on you in talent."
Today's game: Lindenwood-Belleville (3-5) at Olivet Nazarene (1-6), 1:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting.
Lindenwood-Belleville coach Jeff Fisher: "We have a lot of history with them because we played them when I was with McKendree. We know a lot about the program and the school. They're in the Mid-State, so they're in the conference that we'll be getting into. We've already seen St. Francis, so it'll be a good opportunity to see another team in the league.
"They're very balanced offensively between the run and the pass. They're young, but they play hard and they are a four-quarter type of team. They run the pistol offense-shotgun with the backs split behind the quarterback. It's difficult to get a true read on where they're going with the ball from a pre-snap read standpoint. Defensively, they're a 3-4 team and they're extremely aggressive. We're going to have to play well."
Lindenwood-Belleville players to watch: RB Kameron Harris (146 carries for 949 yards and 13 touchdowns); QB Anthony Dorsey (35 of 79 passing for 350 yards with two TDs and 4 Ints.); WR Dylan Bradley (26 catches for 4-5 yards and three TDs); WR Harvey Binford (15 catches for 382 yards and six TDs); LB T.J. Onstott (67 tackles, including 9 1/2 for a loss and one sack).
Olivet Nazarene players to watch: QB Ryan Sample (72 of 166 passing for 810 yards with two TDs and 8 Ints.); RB Michael Ho-Lewis (74 carries for 327 yards and four TDs); ILB Derrick Hosselton (52 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss and three sacks).
Notes: The Lynx will have a bye next week before traveling to Joplin, Mo., to play Missouri Southern State on Nov. 9. ... Olivet Nazarene kicker-pumter Andrew Muzlikovoch has connected on 7-of-10 on field-goal attempts and 11-of-11 of his PATs this season. Six of his seven field goal are from 40-plus yards.
Fun fact: Belleville East graduate Ryan Smith is a starting defensive end for the Tigers. The 5-foot-10, 218-pound sophomore has 17 tackles, including 2 1/2 tackles for loss, this season.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.