The football team did exactly what they needed to do on Saturday.
Fort Hays State University won its first road game since 2005 in convincing fashion, breaking an 18-game road-losing streak and showing a bit of the spread offense’s firepower.
But before Tiger fans start shooting off fireworks, it is nowhere near the time to start making declarations of a 2009-winning season.
Remember 2008. I know I certainly will.
FHSU trounced New Mexico Highlands 44-0 in the opener at Lewis Field Stadium. The Tigers rode the momentum as they nearly defeated Colorado School of Mines and knocked off No. 18 Washburn University at home.
Following their upset-win over WU, I was on the FHSU bandwagon. I celebrated, partied and started making bold predictions of the revival of Tiger football.
So when they proceeded to lose the next eight games, it wasn’t a surprise to most that I spent most Saturday nights crying myself to sleep.
While defeating a Rocky Mountain Athletics Conference opponent is an accomplishment, the difficulty of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association is still worlds ahead of the RMAC.
The Tigers have five remaining home games and five remaining away games. In order to post a winning season, FHSU is going to have to win five more games.
In the past, our success has primarily been centered within the walls of Lewis Field Stadium, but of the five remaining home games, three finished in the top half of the MIAA last season — Missouri Western State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha and reigning MIAA champion and national runner-up No. 2 Northwest Missouri State University.
That means FHSU has to have success on the road, because though the Tigers might be able to make some upsets, it will be difficult to upset all three of them.
As I said earlier, the Tigers took the first step against WSC, proving that FHSU can win on the road. Now they just have to do it against a higher level of competition.
Say the Tigers upset one of the three teams I mentioned earlier and also defeat Colorado School of Mines and Emporia State University at home. That leaves them needing two more road wins to establish a winning record.
Of the five road games, I could see the Tigers being able to beat Truman State University and Missouri Southern State University, but FHSU would have to reverse historical trends. Since joining the MIAA in 2006, FHSU has gone 1-5 against TSU and MSSU combined.
FHSU might be able to defeat WU again, but I am hesitant to say that though. The Ichabods are going to be coming in with the motivation of avenging their only loss to a team with a losing record last season.
So it is possible to do it, but it would also require FHSU to treat every game as a must-win. Players can’t take breaks against some of the worst teams in the conference, because those games are not ones that the Tigers can afford to lose.
I’m not saying that a winning season is impossible. In fact, with the new arsenal of weaponry the Tigers possess on offense and a stalwart defense, I believe the Tigers have what it takes to do it.
They simply can’t be satisfied with this win.
It isn’t time to take the foot off the gas pedal. In fact, it is time to slam to pedal to the floor.