CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston has beaten a Football Championship Series team only once in eight tries since the school started a football program in 2003.
The 27-14 victory over Austin Peay in 2005 was the first win in the first of six seasons Tony DeMeo would serve as head coach of the fledgling program.
Fast-forward to Saturday when the Golden Eagles (0-1) visit FCS team Southern Illinois (0-2) for a 3 p.m. game at Saluki Stadium.
"By far the best team the University of Charleston has ever played," said third-year Coach Pat Kirkland, fully aware of the task that lies ahead of his outmanned team. "You can see it on film. They're very talented. Our goal is to get better at what we do. I expect us to go there and compete at a very high level."
It has been seven years since UC last played a FCS team - a 49-10 defeat to Austin Peay on Oct. 28, 2006 - and the Division II program has been outscored an average of 32.6-10.4 in its eight games against that level of competition.
Saturday offers yet another level for UC, which started the 2013 season last week with a 44-14 loss at Shaw University.
The Salukis' winless record is deceiving, considering Coach Dale Lennon's squad opened the season with an eight-point loss to Big Ten member Illinois after trailing the Illini 25-7 at halftime.
Last week at Saluki Stadium, Southern Illinois dropped a 40-37 double-overtime decision to 14th-ranked Eastern Illinois.
As for UC, Shaw University rolled up 520 yards of total offense led by running back Marquise Grizzle, who ran for 147 yards on 26 carries. The Shaw passing offense accounted for 276 yards on 24-of-31 passing and four touchdowns.
The Salukis, meanwhile, have run 166 plays in two games, with 57 percent of those through the air. In two games, fifth-year senior quarterback Kory Faulkner - who has started 20 consecutive games - is 53-of-90 for 606 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Golden Eagles, who intercepted 15 passes in 11 games last season, failed to register a pick last week. They also watched Shaw finish 11-of-16 on third-down conversions.
"We were doing great on first and second down and had a lot of busts on third down," Kirkland said. "We didn't have the penalties, but we couldn't get off the field on third down. They ran a total of 84 plays and we ran 50. They had 34 more opportunities to do something with the football ... pretty much a recipe for disaster."
Charleston quarterback John Knox acknowledged the hill his team has to climb this week, but said there is no turning back.
"They're a good team, very disciplined, bit, athletic," he said. "We just have to bring our 'A' game. They best believe we're taking it straight to them, no fear in our hearts. They practice just like we practice."