WKU atop C-USA standings

WKU’s quarterback Brandon Doughty (12) celebrates catching a touchdown pass on a trick play during the Hilltoppers’ 35-19 win over Florida Atlantic University on Saturday at Smith Stadium.

Billy Rutledge

The WKU football team sits in first place in the East Division and atop the Conference USA standings through 10 games of the season. 

Coming off their bye week, the Hilltoppers (8-2, 6-0) currently hold a nine-game winning streak against conference opponents. 

This is the second-longest active streak in the country across all conferences behind Ohio State (15) and puts the path to the C-USA championship game completely in the Toppers’ hands.

“We’re excited to get back on track and back to playing some football,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said. “We definitely used the bye week to get better but also get refreshed and ready to go.” 

The Hilltoppers know they control their own fate, and Brohm believes his team is in position to reach the goal it has had since preseason. 

“I think our guys are ready to make this last run in trying to win a championship,” Brohm said. “It’s a very important game for us, and we will do everything we can to win the game.”

Two games remain in the regular season, and both are against C-USA foes. 

WKU will first head to Miami to take on Florida International this upcoming Saturday. The Panthers have not lost a game at home this season and will be fighting for bowl eligibility.  

To finish off the season, WKU will return home to face a team that has become a rival: the Marshall Thundering Herd.  

The last game of the season will be a rematch of a contest that ended last season in a 67-66 overtime victory for WKU. This season, the game will likely decide the winner of the East Division.

WKU has a chance to do something in 2015 that no other C-USA team has been able to achieve in the conference’s 20-year history: win the regular-season title and championship game with an undefeated record in conference play. 

Marshall was on its way to the accomplishment last year until the Hilltoppers ended its perfect season. The Houston Cougars were also close to the feat in 2011 but were derailed in the championship game by Southern Mississippi.

For WKU to achieve the goal it has been eyeing since spring practice, the coaching staff is emphasizing focus.

“I think our guys understand each game is equally as important,” Brohm said. “People are expecting us to do certain things, and we need to go out there and perform at a high level and each week try to get better than we were the week before.” 

If WKU wins, it will host the C-USA championship game at Smith Stadium in only its second year in the conference. 

The Hilltoppers could face Louisiana Tech or Southern Miss. La. Tech, the current West Division leader, lost to WKU earlier this season 41-38. Southern Miss sits behind La. Tech and will face that opponent in their final game of the season.

The Hilltoppers have emphasized a championship mindset from the beginning of the season, and with the goal close to its grasp, WKU will have to play its best as the season comes to a close.

“We have to continue to go out there and give it our best effort,” senior running back Anthony Davis said. “We are going to get each team’s best shot — especially this week — so we just have to go out there and execute.”