Toppers look for weekend turnaround vs. Morgan State

Elliott Pratt

When WKU scheduled Morgan State to open the 2013 season at Smith Stadium, it’s fair to say the Toppers wanted to be in a better position than where they currently find themselves.

Instead, WKU currently sits at 1-2 and 0-1 in the Sun Belt Conference heading into its only contest with a team from the Football Championship Series in Morgan State Saturday at 6 p.m.

Morgan State is having its fair share of struggles, as well. The Bears will come to Bowling Green 0-3, with losses to Army, Robert Morris, and Liberty so far this year. The Bears have lost by an average of 20 points per game and have allowed their opposition to score an average 32 points per contest.

The picture sets up nicely for WKU, but players like redshirt sophomore tight end Tyler Higbee understand the team is no where near the point they would like to be.

Higbee said the passing game is still struggling to find its identity.

“I think we have a lot to work on,” Higbee said. “Obviously, we’re 1-2 — we’re not where we want to be. Everybody’s out there working though, and we’re coming from a new offense so we’re still trying to learn some of the offense. Some people still don’t have it all together, and unless you have all 11 players doing their job, an offense isn’t an offense and where you need it to be.”

Three games into the season, WKU has out-performed its opponent’s offense. Overall, the Toppers have out passed their three opponents 775-to-615 and offensive yards per game 435.7-to-405.

Even if the numbers set up well for WKU, no one is taking Morgan State lightly. According to offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm, the team has to do a better job of taking opportunities when presented.

“Really, the key is we have to make plays when they’re there,” Brohm said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball at quarterback when things aren’t open, when the play breaks down, and we’ve got to run and get yards. Then, obviously, we have to take care of the ball. The turnovers have killed us, and you’re not going to win games when you turn the ball over like that.”

Turnovers are definitely an issue WKU would like to see fade away. The Toppers are currently last in the NCAA D-I when ranking turnover margin (-9). Junior quarterback Brandon Doughty also currently leads all passers in the country with eight interceptions.

These offensive woes represent areas the Toppers want to fix immediately. The team’s attitude moving forward is positive, according to redshirt senior offensive guard Luis Polanco.

“Our attitude is to become tighter,” Polanco said. “Stick together as a team and keep growing and learn from our mistakes. One of the things that we talked ‘bout is to get back to the basics and just do what we do, get better, improve and just win.”

Higbee said he admits that the offense isn’t as cohesive as they would like, but said once it does stick, the product will be one fans can be proud to watch.

“We have a lot to work on,” Higbee said. “But once it comes together, it’s going to be nice.”