Preview: WKU vs. Bowling Green

 The WKU football team waits to have their team photo taken during media day at Smith Stadium. JEFF BROWN/HERALD

Herald Sports Staff

BOWLING GREEN (0-0) at WESTERN KENTUCKY (0-0), 7:30 ET (CBS Sports Network)

Line: Bowling Green by 7

Series Record: Bowling Green leads 1-0


Rookie coach Jeff Brohm is leading WKU into its first season in Conference USA against the defending Mid-American Conference champions.  A win for the Falcons will give Dino Babers his first at the helm of BGSU and would mark the second consecutive season the team has opened the year with a win since 2008 and 2009.


Bowling Green’s experienced offense against WKU’s youthful defense. BGSU returns eight starters on offense that include quarterback Matt Johnson (3,467 passing yards, 25 TDs) and Travis Greene, who rushed for a school record 1,594 yards as a redshirt sophomore. WKU will sport all new linebackers this year after losing 10 lettermen from 2013. Junior Gavin Rocker anchors the defensive line and had 37 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and two sacks last season. Cam Thomas leads the WKU secondary after ranking 10th nationally in pass defense efficiency.  


WKU: QB Brandon Doughty threw for a single-season school record 2,857 yards in 2013. Doughty’s roller coaster junior campaign saw him throw 12 interceptions in the first eight games. He then led the Hilltoppers to win their last four games, including two-game winning touchdown drives of 80+ yards.

Bowling Green: QB Matt Johnson is expected to shine under coach Dino Babers. Johnson earned the MAC Championship Game MVP after throwing for 339 yards and five TDs against Northern Illinois. Babers’ quarterback at Eastern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo, flourished with 53 TDs in 2013 and was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.


WKU opens the season at home for just the second time in the past nine years…With Dino Babers and Jeff Brohm both in their first season as head coaches of their programs, Friday’s game will be the only game in the first week of the season featuring two new head coaches…Babers’ teams have been to the postseason eight times in the last 10 seasons.