CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is a lot at stake for the University of Charleston this weekend.
The Golden Eagles (5-1) will travel to play at nationally ranked University of North Carolina Pembroke (5-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday in their final nonconference game of the season.
UC's only loss so far this was a 16-10 setback to Shepherd, which broke into the American Football Coaches Association Top 25 this week at No. 25. The Golden Eagles have a chance to cement their playoff positioning with a win over No. 24 UNC Pembroke, whose only loss was to No. 3 Winston Salem State.
There's also some pride at stake for the Golden Eagles, who saw UNC Pembroke come to UC Stadium last year and ring up a 52-14 victory. UC's only two losses in its last 10 home games have been to Shepherd and Pembroke.
"It would do nothing but help us to get a victory,'' said UC second-year coach Pat Kirkland. "I think it's a big game. I don't think it's make-or-break. We're going to have to play our best to have a chance to win.
"Last year it was a team that came here and dominated the football game. I think they're as good if not better than last year. I also think we're a better football team.''
UC is beginning to heal up from injuries and illness.
Golden Eagles starting quarterback Maurice Leak (high-ankle sprain) is beginning to take more snaps during games and All-American tailback Jordan Roberts (flu-like symptoms) seems to be back at full strength after turning in 205 yards rushing, three touchdowns and 301 all-purpose yards in a 30-13 win over Seton Hill last week.
"I think [our players are] ready just to play another game,'' Kirkland said. "We've had some success of late.''