MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- The losing streak might be three games but Western Illinois head coach Bob Nielson hasn't pushed the panic button.
"I think our mindset is good," Nielson said.
"Our guys understand that we're getting better and that we have a chance these last four weeks to still make a statement on the year, and that starts by playing well on Saturday night."
The Leathernecks nearly knocked off nationally ranked Youngstown State last Saturday. But a missed field goal, a late interception, and a big play from the opposition dropped Western's record to 3-5.
"In our situation we have to play very close to perfect to win right now," Nielson said.
Now the focus turns to Missouri State.
The Bears head to Macomb fresh off a 14-point upset of South Dakota State who's considered a Top 20 team.
"I feel like we're a better team," senior offensive lineman Jeff Lindsey said.
"If we can just finish in the fourth quarter we'll have a good chance of winning."
Nielson knows Missouri State will be just as ready to play as the home team.
"I'm sure they're going to come in here on a roll and we're going to have to play very, very well."
Saturday's matchup is the first of two straight home games for Western and the final pair of contests at Hanson Field this season.
"There's still a lot of hope," explained junior defensive lineman Gino Durley, Jr.
"We've been extremely optimistic with the outcome of the season. We'll play it a week at a time and let it play out from there. It's a pretty big week as far as gaining the confidence of our fans and gaining some support because we'll need it."
According to Nielson, "We've played very well at home so far this year and we want to close the season with two home games being our best football of the year."
Western and Missouri State square off under the lights. Kick off is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday night.
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