QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- As the majority of college football kicked off a new season last week Quincy University had to sit and watch.
But head coach Tom Pajic had the chance to get a sneak peak at his team's first opponent.
The Hawks travel north to Western Illinois on Saturday looking to upend a squad with plenty of momentum following last week's opening night win at Hanson Field.
For QU, it marks the beginning of a two week stretch against FCS competition and a game Pajic says the Hawks can ill afford to make mistakes, especially when it comes to turnovers.
"One for us against Western Illinois is way too many, that's going to really put us behind (on) the scoreboard for sure," Pajic said of securing the football.
"You just can't give the game away in that regard. We need to play well, that's the biggest thing, and we're really excited. I think we're ready and I think we've practiced well."
Hawks linebacker Dan Camp says the players are more than ready for an actual game.
"Everyone is tired of hitting each other," Camp claimed.
"We finally got our scout (team) out there to get a look at the other team's offense, and a lot of players thrive on watching film and adapting to different offenses to play. A lot of us are really excited about that."
The numbers certainly don't favor the Hawks.
Western hasn't lost a non-Division I game in two decades, they own a 10-2 all-time mark against QU, and haven't lost in the series since 1948.
But don't forget the Leathernecks were a heavy favorite in 2004 and barely squeezed out a seven-point win.
Camp doesn't feel there's much of a gap in talent between the two teams.
"There's a lot of guys that are right on the cusp (of playing FBS or FCS), and it's really a big game for us to come out and step up, and to show that we are at their level of athleticism."
Pajic added: "I can only hope that our execution is good. False starts, offsides, penalties, and certainly our turnovers hopefully they're few and far between. We have to go (up there) and play really well, and really for us it's just doing what we do and not beating ourselves."
The Hawks face a pair of Missouri Valley foes to begin the season.
A trip to Indiana State comes in week two before their home opener September 21 against Northwood.
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