The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were just 2-22 in their first 2 season at the FBS level (2009-10), but they have now strung together 3 winning seasons in a row and have made the jump to Conference USA. The Hilltoppers may be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they were snubbed for a bowl bid last year, despite going 8-4 on the season. Preview & schedule below.
Jeff Brohn was the OC for the Hilltoppers last year, but has moved up to take over the HC duties. That means nothing should change offensively for a team that put up 30.8 ppg and set 20 Team/ player school records along the way. They will lose top back Antonio Andrews, who led the nation in all-purpose yards last year, but a stable of talented backs are ready to have a solid year, including Leon Allen who ran for 357 yards and 5 TDs last year. He will be operating behind a very solid OL that has 3 starters back the year. Brandon Doughty is back to QB the team, after throwing for 2857 yards with 14 TDs and 14 INTs last year. He is a senior and should have a better year, especially with 8 players back that caught at least 13 passes last year. The defense is where this team cold struggle this year, as they lost their top 5 tacklers from a team that was 14th in the nation in total defense and 10th in passing defense last year. Cam Thomas is the top returning tackler, with 41, while he had 10 PBUs and 5 INTs last year. Stlll the secondary will beat much weaker this year, while the LB corps must be totally rebuilt and the DL comes in as a very average group.
Jeff Brohm was promoted to HC from within the organization and 6 assistants stayed with him, so there should be a smooth transition. The looks very strong again, even with the loss of Andrews, but it will be the defense that could hold this team back this year and you need at least a decent defense in the offensive minded Conference USA. The schedule will be tougher for them as the make the leap up in competition, but overall this is a very good football team that could go at least 7-5, especially if their young defense steps up. KEY TREND: 10-2 ATS on the road vs sub .500 teams.
2014 Western Kentucky Football Schedule
Aug. 29 Bowling Green
Sep. 6 at Illinois
Sep. 13 at Middle Tennessee
Sep. 20 OPEN DATE
Sep. 27 at Navy
Oct. 4 UAB
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 at Florida Atlantic
Oct. 25 Old Dominion
Nov. 1 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 8 UTEP
Nov. 15 Army
Nov. 22 UTSA
Nov. 28 at Marshall
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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