5 things to watch for WKU against Arkansas State

WKU’s Antonio Andrews and Cameron Clemmons salute to the stands after Andrews scored a touchdown during their game against Navy at Western Kentucky University on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

Elliott Pratt

1. Antonio Andrews – Andrews and three offensive lineman will play their last game at Smith Stadium this afternoon. Luis Polanco, Ed Hazelett, and Sean Conway (elbow), have helped pave the way for Andrews’ stellar career. Andrews is 117 yards away from topping his own single-season rushing record of 1,728 yards he set last season.

Arkansas State allowed Andrews to run for 215 yards last year in a 26-13 loss to the Toppers. The Red Wolves works in Andrews’ favor, who have allowed an average of 186 yards per game. 

2. Brandon Doughty – The junior has emerged as the undisputed leader of the Topper offense. Doughty had a rough first half of the season, but he and the WKU offense have settled down while the team has won three straight games.

With 2,602 passing yards on the season, he is 135 away from taking over as the school’s leader in passing yards in a single season, surpassing Jeff Cesarone, who threw for 2,737 in 1985.

3. Topper Defense – Producing turnovers has been an issue for the WKU defense this season who, at the beginning of the year, anticipated adding to last seasons 23 forced turnovers. That was before last week’s 38-7 win at Texas State, where the defense produced five turnovers, the most of any game this season.

Coach Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Nick Holt believed the results would come earlier in the year, but said they’re glad to see the defense’s aggressiveness. That game pushed the Toppers into first place in the Sun Belt Conference in producing interceptions. Arkansas State is one of the league’s better teams in not turning the ball over, but so was Texas State before they played WKU’s defense.

4. Bowling – The Toppers are bowl eligible, but nothing is guaranteed. A win against the Red Wolves would help the team’s chances that much more. A three-game win streak helps WKU’s chances, but ending the season having won four in a row will be that much more appealing to bowl representatives, who will be at the game Saturday.

Read what athletics director Todd Stewart had to say about WKU’s bowl chances.

5. Seniors – This year’s redshirt seniors has been with the team for every year WKU has been competitive at the FBS level. They were brought in during the 0-12 year under David Elson, rode through three years with former coach Willie Taggart on the way to the team’s first bowl game last season, and now they finish their careers as Hilltoppers under Bobby Petrino with the opportunity to finish 8-4, a record football hasn’t reached yet during WKU’s years in the FBS. 

Seniors playing in their final game today:

32 Kadeem Jones 5-11/246 FB SR Dundee, Fla. (Haines City)
4 Andrew Jackson 6-1/257 LB SR Lakeland, Fla. (Kathleen)

Tyree Robinson

5-11/200 DB SR Dundee, Fla. (Haines City HS)
13 Xavius Boyd 6-2/243 LB SR St. Petersburg, Fla. (Lakewood)
40 Bar’ee Boyd 6-1/233 LB SR St. Petersburg, Fla. (Lakewood)
21 Arius Wright 5-11/200 DB SR Duluth, Ga. (Norcross HS)
5 Antonio Andrews /219 RB SR Fort Campbell, Ky. (Fort Campbell)
81 Jamarielle Brown 6-1/185 WR RS SR Paducah, Ky. (Lone Oak)
65 Sean Conway 6-3/305 OL RS SR Nashville, Tenn. (Father Ryan)
34 Keshawn Simpson 6-0/245 RB RS SR Lexington, Ky. (Madison Central HS)
99 Hendrix Brakefield 6-4/235 P RS SR Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro Comprehensive)
91 Calvin Washington 6-5/277 DL RS SR Charlottesville, Va. (Eastern Arizona CC)
63 Luis Polanco 6-2/292 OL RS SR Tampa, Fla. (Middleton HS)
92 James Hervey 6-2/289 DL RS SR Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek)
37 Vince Williams 5-10/198 DB RS SR Alpharetta, Ga. (Alpharetta HS)
60 Ed Hazelett 6-8/317 OL RS SR Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central)
42 Nick Baisch 5-11/260 FB RS SR Louisville, Ky. (St. Xavier)
25 Chuck Franks 6-2/243 LB RS SR Fayette, Ala. (Fayette County)
29 Kiante Young 5-11/220 DB RS SR Gainesville, Ga. (East Hall HS)

Roster courtesy of wkusports.com