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Performance won't engender team to fans

    We know coach, we know.
    They "still have a long way to go."
    But patience in Eagle nation is wearing thin, and suffering the worst home loss since a 1994 beating at the hands of then No. 1 Marshall doesn't exactly help the situation.
    When the clock finally struck zero Saturday afternoon at Paulson Stadium, the Bison of North Dakota State had 34 and the Eagles 14. Only a couple thousand fans were left to see it and not that many had shown up in the first place (13,892.)
    Eagle fans may be beyond frustration and perhaps entering the 'indifferent zone.' Playoff aspirations look bleak and even a winning season is in question as the Eagles have started 2-3 for just the fifth time in the modern era. The only time they advanced to the playoffs in those five years was in 1990, when GSU claimed its fourth National Championship.
    But perhaps what was so disconcerting about this loss was they way it happened.
    After a stagnate first quarter, Southern and State traded touchdowns to end up all square at 14 going into the half. When the Bison came out in the third quarter and scored two unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead, the Eagles didn't exactly look like they cared too much about making a run at the team from Fargo.
    "It was kind of a quiet sideline," said GSU head coach Brian VanGorder. "I walked up and down a couple times and was hollering at them to pick it up, so there's no doubt that's an area we want to improve."
    Saturday's game was one that could've been the turning point of the season for GSU. A game which could've built momentum in a three-game homestand leading up to the facing the defending national champion Mountaineers of Appalachian State on Oct. 21.
       A game in which VanGorder shouldn't have had to walk up and down a quiet sideline.
    "The attitude is there," said senior linebacker and leader John Mohring, whose defense was demoralized and victimized on third down over and over again all day long. "We're getting better. It's hard to look at it that way when we give up a lot of points, but I think the team as a whole is getting better. (NDSU) was a darn good football team."
    Point taken. The Bison are a 'darn good football team.' In fact they're the best team the Eagles have faced all year. A scary thought when GSU fans still see Furman and App State remaining on the schedule.
    Can the Eagles still make the playoffs? Of course. A 5-1 Southern Conference record and some help could earn them an automatic bid. Can the Eagles still have a winning season? No doubt. Elon, The Citadel, Wofford and Central Arkansas are all winnable games. Can the Eagles return to a form of football that made them synonymous with championships and dominance?
    Well, they've still got a long way to go.

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