MCPHERSON Not since the last game of the 1999 season has Haskell Indian Nations University's football team won a game on the road.
But the Fightin' Indians came as close as they've come to halting that skid when they bowed to McPherson College, 24-23, in their season opener last year. Now the Tribe will meet the Bulldogs on the road again.
"Our guys know we were one point away last year," second-year HINU coach Eric Brock said. "And we know we're a better team than we were last year, but so are they."
Kickoff will be 7 p.m. today at refurbished McPherson Stadium.
McPherson College and the city school district pooled funds for a $3.9 million renovation project at the stadium. The locker rooms and press box have been expanded, and the grass field has been replaced with artificial turf.
So new is the Sprinturf field that Brock didn't learn about its installation until the middle of the week.
"That didn't give us enough time to practice on turf," Brock said, "but it shouldn't make that much difference. I imagine it will make both teams a little faster."
One of HINU's standouts in last year's loss to McPherson was Martin Woods, who returned one punt for a touchdown and another to the five-yard line to set up another score.
Woods, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, missed last Saturday's season-opening 12-0 win over Waldorf (Iowa) College after Brock suspended him for violating team policies. Woods has been reinstated and will play against the Bulldogs.
Haskell hopes to halt a 14-game road losing streak tonight. The Indians haven't won on the road since tripping Principia, 27-20, Nov. 7, 1999, in Elsah, Ill.
Haskell will open Central States Football League competition next Saturday at Northwestern Oklahoma State.