PREVIEW: WKU vs. UTEP (Homecoming)

Redshirt junior wide receiver Jared Dangerfield (21) catches a pass for a touchdown during the first half of WKU’s Oct. 25 game against Old Dominion. Dangerfield caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown during the first half as WKU led 42-30. Brandon Carter/HERALD

Kyle Williams

Western Kentucky (3-5, 1-4 C-USA) vs. UTEP (5-3, 3-1 C-USA)

KICKOFF: 3 p.m. CT

BROADCAST: C-USA Digital Network, 105.3 FM (IMG Sports Network)

ODDS: WKU -8 (Bovada)

SERIES: First meeting.


The Hilltoppers are 1-6 in their last seven Homecoming games and they’ve lost two in a row. With four games remaining on the regular-season schedule, WKU needs to win at least three of those games to become bowl eligible. The Miners will look to solidify their bowl eligibility as they sit at 5-3 on the season.


WKU’s rushing defense vs. Aaron Jones and the Miner rushing attack: UTEP enters this matchup as the second-best rushing team in the Conference USA at 207.8 yards per game. The Hilltopper run defense has improved steadily, but still ranks as the second-to-last team in the conference, allowing 227.5 grounds yards per game.


UTEP RB Aaron Jones –

Jones, having compiled 1,697 rushing yards in 17 career games, is the spark plug of the Miner offense. Jones ranks third on the conference’s rushing yards list this season with 886 and leads UTEP with 10 total touchdowns — eight rushing and two receiving. He also leads the Miners in receptions on the season with 22.

WKU WR Taywan Taylor –

Taylor has caught a receiving touchdown in each of his last four games. He leads the team with 532 receiving yards to go along with five touchdowns and ranks fifth in Conference USA with 66.5 receiving yards per game. Taylor’s 12 receptions against Bowling Green State on Aug. 29 is the second-highest single-game total among C-USA receivers this season.


WKU is 50-28-3 all-time in Homecoming matchups. The Hilltoppers are 2-1 at home this season and average 54.7 points and 604 yards per game in Smith Stadium. Redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, who threw four interceptions last week at LA Tech, boasts totals of 1,259 yards, 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions at home this season.


Senior cornerback Cam Thomas (hamstring) is a game-time decision. Redshirt junior cornerback Wonderful Terry (concussion) will play after sitting out last week.