For more than a month now, Arkansas-Pine Bluff football coach Monte Coleman has witnessed the same old struggles from his football team. And he’s alluded to the same old common denominator in his past four games, all of them defeats.

For more than a month now, Arkansas-Pine Bluff football coach Monte Coleman has witnessed the same old struggles from his football team. And he’s alluded to the same old common denominator in his past four games, all of them defeats.


"I sound like a broken record each week, but I remain optimistic with this football team," he said earlier this week at his coach’s luncheon. "The thing that I know for a fact is that we’re a young football team."


That’s the common denominator — which the seventh-year head coach is trying very hard not to use as an excuse.


"We pride ourselves on being a no-excuse team, so I will make no excuses," he said. "The young men playing for us, being young on the field and in the classroom, they understand the importance of it, so we put a lot of pressure on them to perform."


But Coleman brought up an interesting fact: UAPB has only five seniors and one graduate student on its current roster. When it won the 2012 SWAC title, there were 22 seniors, Coleman counted.


So far, this year’s UAPB team (1-5, 0-4 SWAC) has seen teams ranging from traditional powers to conference leaders in SWAC play. But no matter how much the Golden Lions’ offense has produced — and it produces very well — it hasn’t been enough.


More often than not, it hasn’t come close. All but one of the Lions’ losses have come by double digits. Ben Anderson threw for a school-record 467 yards at Grambling State, and UAPB still fell 63-39.


But the Lions’ opposition still respects them when they line up face-to-face with them on the field. And Coleman feels the Lions are capable of winning big games.


On Saturday, they get another opportunity to win one in closing a brutal October schedule. Texas Southern (5-2, 3-2) hosts UAPB for homecoming at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston with kickoff set for 2 p.m.


Texas Southern coach Darrell Asberry, who’s won more games this season than in his previous two at the helm, isn’t viewing Saturday’s game as a chance to take out some frustration after last Saturday’s 40-25 loss to Alcorn State.


"I don’t think it’s going to be about anger," Asberry said. "We just want to come out and give a good performance against a good Pine Bluff team."


The Tigers, who started the year 4-0, are just two games out of first place in the SWAC Western Division with four league games remaining, and they’re performing without regular starting quarterback Homer Causey due to injury. Causey injured his thumb earlier in the season and has played in only three games.


Asberry has relied on Jamal Small and Jay Christophe under center, and both are completing 50 percent or better of their passes. Small has seen action in all seven games, completing 52 of 104 passes for 725 yards and eight touchdowns, but Christophe saw the most action last Saturday at Alcorn State, completing 10 of 21 for 93 yards and a touchdown.


"It’s a blessing to stick your hand back and grab something," Asberry said.


Texas Southern and UAPB are evenly matched in total offense (Texas Southern has a 378.6-374.3 edge in yards per game), but the Tigers are much better at rushing and stopping the run. Anderson, who throws for 233.8 yards a game this season, will have to play another on-point game Saturday against the SWAC’s top pass defense (177.1).


UAPB needs a win to avoid securing a second straight losing record and take some momentum into next Saturday’s rivalry game with Mississippi Valley State at home. UAPB last played in Pine Bluff on Sept. 27 when it lost to Jackson State in overtime.


For Saturday’s contest, and every game afterward, Coleman only wants youth to step up, not get in the way of progress.


Otherwise, the broken record will keep playing.


"We’re a very young football team," Coleman said. "We made some very young mistakes and have made some very young mistakes each game."