WKU looking to right the ship during bye week

Junior wide receiver Jared Dangerfield attempts a catch during the WKU vs MTSU game on Sept. 13, 2014. Alyssa Pointer/HERALD

Kyle Williams

WKU football endured the longest game of its FBS history on Saturday as the Hilltoppers dropped a dramatic 50-47 triple overtime decision to longtime rival Middle Tennessee, but they’ll have an off week to prepare for their next test at Navy on Sept. 27 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The Hilltoppers currently sit at 1-2 on the season, but with both losses coming by a combined 11 points, that record could easily be 3-0.

WKU allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter of its loss at Illinois, 14 of which came off Hilltopper turnovers, and the only difference in the MTSU thriller was a touchdown to WKU’s field goal in the third overtime.

Head Coach Jeff Brohm said on Tuesday he’s aware that every game on the Hilltoppers’ schedule could go either way, and that the team needs to improve in several different facets in an effort to prepare for that uncertainty.

“There are numerous things we need to work on both sides of the ball, on special teams,” Brohm said. “We have to use this week to improve on fundamentals, technique and really push hard to get better. We know that there’s tough competition. The difference between winning and losing is small. We have to find ways to out-work, out-prepare and continue to improve every week.”

Brohm also mentioned that some players will use the bye week for recovery.

Senior tight end Mitchell Henry, who tallied seven receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns against MTSU, injured his shoulder in one of the three overtime periods and will use the bye week to recover. Freshman linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe had surgery on Tuesday to repair a patella tendon that he injured during the MTSU game.

WKU will have a unique task ahead of it after the bye week as the Hilltoppers travel to Annapolis, Maryland for a bout with Navy. The Midshipmen average an NCAA-leading 403 rushing yards per game.

Navy also entered last season’s meeting with the Hilltoppers as the No. 1 rushing offense in the country, but left Smith Stadium with a 19-7 loss. WKU held the Midshipmen to just 107 yards on the ground.

“This upcoming week we’re going to face something a little different,” Brohm said. “So I think we have a decent plan ready for that. The one we’ve used last year we adjusted a little bit. Just overall, I think that we have to find ways to take away their best players. …We can’t have lapses. We have to be sound in what we’re doing. Our players have to understand that plan.”