Hilltoppers play first ever C-USA home game against UAB


After a morale boosting win on the road to close out a four game series with the Navy Midshipmen, the Hilltoppers have finally come back home for the first time since the opening game of the year, and will play their first ever home C-USA game as they welcome in the UAB Blazers.

The Hilltoppers didn’t necessarily struggle offensively last week, but Brandon Doughty found himself in uncharted offensive territory, as he threw for under 400 yards for the second time this year (the other, of course, coming against Illinois). Leon Allen continues to grow as the Tops’ #1 back, and had the benefit of a back-up, as Ace Wales had his “coming out party,” of sorts last week, rushing for 60 yards on 14 carries, and had four catches out of the backfield for 39 yards. Something that both Bobby Rainey and Antonio Andrews had were capable backups, and for the first time this year last week, we saw that Wales is just that for Allen. If WKU wants the running game to continue what it’s been doing for the past couple of years, Wales will be just as important as Allen.

The area of concern this week for the Toppers is at tight end. The good news is Mitchell Henrywho injured himself after scoring the first overtime touchdown against MTBR, has been upgraded from “doubtful” to “questionable,” after having the bye week completely off and sitting out against Navy. Henry is the team’s fourth leading receiver, with 225 yards receiving through the first three games as well as a pair of touchdowns (both coming against the Raiders). However, it’s unclear how much action Henry will see, on either side of the ball, with the injury. The bad news is Henry’s replacement from last week, Tyler Higbee, is out after injuring his leg last week, which means, especially if Henry is kept out a majority of the game, that it’ll be Tim Gorski at the position on the day. Gorski doesn’t have any receptions on the year, but is a bigger guy than Henry and Higbee are, which could be good things for the run game having him blocking for Allen and Wales.

UAB will also come in with a pretty stout run game, as the Blazers have two guys over 200 yards rushing in D.J. Vinson (270 yards, seven touchdowns) and leading rusher Jordan Howard (381 yards, three touchdowns), who has rushed for 100 or more yards in three of the four games UAB has played this year. Cody Clements will most likely be leading the offense for the Blazers, and with a big game, can eclipse the 1,000 yard passing mark on the season, coming in with 735 yards on 57 completions and four touchdowns. There are four Blazers who have over 130 yards catching, and leading the way is Jamarcus Nelson with 296 yards on 13 receptions.

I’ll be incredibly surprised if either team holds the other to under 30 points tonight. Both of these offenses are high powered, and both defenses have given up a fair amount of points as well.

We are closer and closer to kickoff! What are your keys to the game? Let us know below or on twitter @WaveTheRedTowel.