Hilltoppers prepared to send seniors off right in battle of 1-9 teams

Head coach Mike Sanford speaks into his headset during the spring football game on April 21 in Houchens-Smith Stadium. Sanford has yet to make a decision on who the starting quarterback will be for WKU when football season starts.

Matt Stahl

WKU’s senior football players will take part in their last home game of the season on Saturday night, as the 1-9 Hilltoppers take on a 1-9 Texas-El Paso team in a battle for last place in Conference USA.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Deane said. “I’ve been praying about it and stuff and I’m just glad that I’m healthy and at a good school with good coaches around that always want me to get better every day, so it’s bittersweet but it’s been a long time coming.”

Deane, who leads the team with five receiving touchdowns on the season also spoke of the mood of the team, also talked about the mood of the team.

“Every week we try to win,” Deane said. “We try to go out and win and we try to put ourselves in the best situation possible and obviously stuff happens, you know, just like life, but every week we try to come out and try to do our best.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Masai Whyte was anticipating emotion going into his last home game.

“It’s just been surreal,” Whyte said. “One of my last games at the Hilltopper’s stadium. I came in my senior year and my first year, just playing in the state championship so I’ve been here for a minute, so this will be nice”

WKU head coach Mike Sanford said that honoring the seniors was important for him, but getting the win is his main focus.

“Senior bowl for our seniors,” Sanford told the media Monday. “For that group of 10 players and a couple more that’ll be honored. I think the most important thing is that we are fully, fully focused on UTEP and that’s really all that matters right now is preparing for a team that’s playing better.”

Sanford said that the Hilltoppers aren’t taking UTEP lightly, despite the Miners also having a dismal record.

“We’re gonna go into this game preparing for the best version of any team we’ve played all year,” Sanford said. “That’s our focus, is solely, solely focusing on beating UTEP and winning this football game.”

Sanford said that he was looking forward to seeing the seniors honored, despite most of them having been recruited before his tenure began in 2017.

“The last game at home or the last game of the season, that’s not the end of the relationship,” Sanford said. “It isn’t. That’s the beginning of the relationship. I’ve seen that in the coaching profession my whole life.”

Kickoff for WKU vs. UTEP is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium. The game will also be available to watch on beIN sports.

Reporter Matt Stahl can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @mattstahl97.