Haskell Indian Nations University took what third-year coach Eric Brock called a major leap forward in its football revival Saturday night when it shut out No. 19 McPherson College, 18-0, at Haskell Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-1) beat HINU in dramatic fashion each of the past two seasons, but this time the Indians left no room for drama.
"It feels very sweet," Brock said. "We're on an upward climb here at Haskell, and these guys have been taking baby steps for so long that we were just waiting around for that big step, and I think tonight was a big step for us."
Haskell's first three drives ended with an interception, failed field goal and turnover, but McPherson was unable to take advantage because the Indians' defense held the Bulldogs to just 24 yards of total offense in the first half.
Freshman quarterback Kaleb Harris scored on a pair of one-yard runs that gave HINU a 12-0 lead at halftime.
"We weren't giving up any yards," HINU junior linebacker A.J. Leading Fox said, "and our offense, they wanted to take it to the house every time."
Haskell (2-1) added a final touchdown on the last play of the third quarter when Harris scrambled and found sophomore tight end Jeff Emerich wide open for a 40-yard touchdown.
The Indians outgained McPherson 268-120 in total offense and picked up 17 first downs on the way to its second straight shutout win.
"This is a statement game," Leading Fox said. "We usually have Mondays off, but this week we had practice Monday because we wanted to come out and build a name. We need to start a name here at Haskell."
Haskell will shoot for its third straight victory at 6 p.m. Saturday when it travels to Southern (Okla.) Nazarene.