5 things to watch for WKU vs. Army

Tight end Tim Gorski (85) catches a pass in the endzone during the second half of the WKU vs. Georgia State game Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.

Elliott Pratt

1.)  Options with the Option – It’s what defines Army. The Black Knights are No. 1 in the nation in rushing due to their consistent success in running the triple option. WKU has seen it and stopped it once already this year, holding Navy to only 107 yards of rushing offense. But Army’s option hasn’t been stopped this season. Army also has options with its option. Six different players have more than 100 yards rushing on the season, three of them around 500 or more yards. Terry Baggett leads the team with 889 yards rushing followed by fullback Larry Dixon with 672, and quarterback Angel Santiago with 495.

2.)  Andrews and Company –  Last week was evidence that the entire WKU backfield can equally contribute to the strengths of the offense. Antonio Andrews hasn’t missed a beat, but coach Bobby Petrino said this week that the team is looking to give Andrews a rest every now and then during the game. Keshawn Simpson had four touchdowns and Leon Allen put up solid numbers against Georgia State. Andrews’ will get plenty of carries, but look for a couple of guys in the backfield to get multiple touches through out the game to help keep Andrews fresh.

  3.)  Red zone offense– WKU was able to fix its red zone scoring problems last week at Georgia State by scoring touchdowns in six trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Army has allowed teams to score 86 percent of the time when they’ve entered the red zone. With the idea that many guys could touch ball inside the 20-yard line as seen at Georgia State, WKU could see that same success again at Army.

4.)  More Topper Turnovers – The Toppers haven’t gone a game without a turnover this season. On paper, the odds are in WKU’s favor because Army hasn’t done a great job of taking the ball away, with only 12 takeaways. Petrino has noted time and time again how turnovers have made the biggest difference between the team winning and losing. And of all teams WKU doesn’t want to turn the ball over to, it’s Army. Army ranks 11th in the nation in time of possession, so the Toppers don’t want to give Army’s offense any additional time to control the clock.

5.)  Bowl Eligibility – Petrino won’t talk about it, the players tell you they’re not thinking about it, but the Toppers are one win away from becoming bowl eligible. The state of the Sun Belt Conference has Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State already bowl eligible, with WKU, UL-Monroe and Troy one win away from it. The cliché is that this game is a must win, but it’s the honest position WKU finds themselves in. Getting win No. 6 on Saturday will certainly help the Toppers’ chances of another post-season bowl bid.