With three games left in the regular season, the playoff scenario for Fort Hays State couldn't be any more straight forward.
"You win, you're in," Tigers' coach Chris Brown said.
That's the gist of it for the Tigers, who were tabbed seventh in the first edition of the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings released this week and can secure their playoff spot by going 3-0 to close the season.
FHSU (6-2) will look to take another step toward their playoff and MIAA championship goals, playing host to Lindenwood (3-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lewis Field Stadium.
"We don't have a chance to take a breath, that's all there is to it," said Brown, who enters Saturday's game tied with Bob Cortese for most coaching wins in program history at 55. "We put ourselves in this situation, we put our backs against the wall. Take it for what it's worth. It's time to go to work. You've got to go to work every single day and have a purpose for why you're here."
The Tigers are coming off a double-overtime thriller at Nebraska-Kearney, outlasting the Lopers 29-26 with help from five Dante Brown field goals.
"At times, I thought we played well, but then at times I didn't think we played real hard," Chris Brown said. "That's the main thing I get upset with these guys about — sometimes I don't think we play to our potential and we don't give full effort on every single play. If the ball's not coming our way on offense, we take a break. Defensively, sometimes if the ball's going away from us, we just coast a little bit.
"Those are the things we have to work on — not being lazy, playing hard every single play and doing things the right way."
Lindenwood, which will leave the MIAA for the Great Lakes Valley Conference after this year, is coming off a 38-17 loss at home to first-place Northwest Missouri, which the Tigers will face on the road next week.
Lions' quarterback Cade Brister is a dual threat, throwing for 1,668 yards while adding 396 on the ground. Lindenwood ranks in the middle of the league in rushing (159.8 yards per game) and passing (219.3 yards per game).
"He's definitely shifty," FHSU linebacker Jose Delgado said of Brister. "He likes to get out of the pocket and move around. So containing him when he's moving around with the D-line, I think that's going to be key. Just making sure we know where he is at all times on the field."
Brown said Tuesday tight end Matt Wendelberger was day-to-day after missing the UNK game with an injury.
"We're thinking he'll be ready to go this week, (but) if we don't feel like he's quite there and he's still a little hobbled, we're not going to play him," Brown said. "We've got to make sure he's healthy and taken care of."