Expectations are rising for the UW-La Crosse football team after Mike Schmidt guided the Eagles to their first non-losing season since 2009 last year.
It was a strange year though, one that started with five straight wins and ended with five straight losses.
The Eagles take the field this season hoping they resemble the team from the beginning of last season.
They have a talented and deep roster at the skill positions on offense and in the back seven on defense.
The offensive and defensive lines will be key.
But for now, the focus in the opener against Luther this Saturday.
"That's all that matters. We talk about that and the first thing we tell them when they come to fall camp is that nothing matters other than beating Luther College. That's the only thing that matters right now. I know that's a little bit of coach-speak talking one game at a time, but truly, when you're in it, nothing else matters," said head coach Mike Schmidt.
"It's huge. It's the first one. We prepare for every team the same. We prepare for the worst team in the country the same way we prepare for the best. A win feels good no matter what and getting that first one would be huge for us," said defensive lineman Jacob Wudtke.
UW-L was picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll.
Saturday's game with Luther starts at 6 PM at Harring Stadium.