Hilltoppers face Midshipmen in final game of four game series


The Hilltoppers are back in action, following a bye week which was preceded by the heartbreaking triple overtime loss to Middle Tennessee. But, assuming players actually follow the 24 hour rule, that shouldn’t even be a thought, as the Brohm Squad has made the journey up to Baltimore and they’ll look to knock off the Navy Midshipmen for the second year in a row.

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Let’s hope the bye week only helps the Hilltoppers, and we have a repeat of the last time the Tops played after an elongated break (that being the Bowling Green State rout). Hopefully Brandon Doughty will be able to improve upon his already stellar season, needing 41 yards to reach 1500 on the year, and 541 to reach 2,000 (usually, I wouldn’t note that but, come on, it’s Brandon freaking Doughty. He’ll find a way). Doughty also comes into today with 12 touchdowns, another number he’d like to increase.

After three weeks of play, already three receivers have over 200 yards to their credit, and one is nine yards short of that. The receiving corps is lead by freshman Jared Dangerfield (20 receptions, 230 yards, three touchdowns) and not far behind is veteran tight end Mitchell Henry (14 catches, 225 yards, two touchdowns). Taywan Taylor is the third and final WKU receiver with over 200 yards – 205 and a touchdown – while Nicholas Norris is looking to join their ranks today, coming in with 191 yards receiving.

The Tops’ still haven’t found a strong, steady run game in looking to replace Antonio Andrews, but Leon Allen is certainly trying, as he comes into this afternoon with 345 yards on 81 carries and three scores of his own.

The Midshipmen bring with them their triple-option run offense, but didn’t employ it as much in last week’s loss to Rutgers, in which quarterback Keenan Reynolds actually threw for 231 yards. With that performance, Reynolds truly established himself as a duel threat guy, who leads the team in passing and is second on the team in rushing (63 carries for 240 yards and five touchdowns), trailing the leading rusher, Noah Copeland by just a yard to reclaim that top spot. Chris Swain is the third and final piece to that “triple” attack.

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt said after practice one day this week that the Midshipmen run about 80% of the time, and use the pass to catch defenses off guard, something he doesn’t want to have happen with his defense, and they’ll be looking to especially defend Jamir Tillman, who comes into today with nine receptions for 186 yards and a single score.

Defense is going to be key for the Hilltoppers. They didn’t play very well against MTBR, and they simply collapsed (again) in the second half versus Illinois. It’s yet another road game, where WKU will play their final of three in a row, but the defense has to show up and has to stand tall. The Tops, most likely, wont have the luxury of Reynolds being knocked out of the game like last year, so they’ll have to come in extra ready for a true four quarter bout.

What are your keys to the game? Does WKU have what it takes to upset the Midshipmen on the road? Let us know below in a comment or on twitter at @WaveTheRedTowel.