Football notes: WKU faces long odds vs. Alabama

Garrett Schwettman/

Lucas Aulbach

Coach Willie Taggart said he has confidence in his team against Alabama on Saturday.

Oddsmakers don’t share his optimism. The Toppers opened as a 37-point underdog and the line has already risen to 39 points.

Taggart said point spreads aren’t an accurate depiction of how a team will do, calling the 39-point prediction “a bunch of bologna.”

“We’re going out there and we’re gonna go play football,” he said. “If anything, let’s go out there and show we’re not gonna lose by 39 points, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to win this ballgame.”

Taggart has experience facing heavy point spreads. He was a coach at Stanford when they beat Southern California in 2007. The Cardinal was a 41-point underdog to the Trojans that day.

Taggart’s team would not be discouraged by the oddsmakers’ lines, he said.

“Yeah they’re a great team and they’re really good, but we’re not going to put our tails under our butt and walk away,” Taggart said, “we’re going down there to play football and trying to win that ballgame.”

Jakes looking to build on great start

Senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes had the best game of his career against Austin Peay.

He’s not interested in talking about it, though.

“That game is over,” Jakes said on Monday. “We’re looking at Alabama right now. That’s the way it is.”

Jakes completed 18 of 23 passes and threw four touchdowns to four different targets. He threw one interception towards the end of the second quarter but responded by tossing one more touchdown pass with six seconds to go in the half.

He faces a tougher task this week. Alabama has one of the top defenses in the country, with NFL prospects at almost every position.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the nation and the defending national champs. That speaks for itself,” Jakes said. “They’re fast, big, physical — we’re just going to have to play our ‘A’ game, mistake-free and just give it our all.”

In his fifth year at WKU, Jakes said the entire team is playing like it’s their last collegiate season.

“It’s my last go-around and we want everyone to play like it’s their last go-around,” he said. “No matter who it is, we’re just going to play together and play to win.”

Toppers going with Schwettman at kicker

The Toppers didn’t have much luck kicking the ball against Austin Peay, using two kickers to go 0-3 on field goals.

Sophomore Jesse Roy was responsible for two of those misses, going wide right on both attempts. Freshman Garrett Schwettman missed the other one, a 36-yard attempt that bounced off of the right goal post.

On Monday, Taggart announced who the Toppers will start at kicker moving forward.

“Schwettman’s going to be our guy,” he said. “We’re going to go with Schwettman and he’s going to do a great job for us.”

Schwettman, a Murray native, also hit all four extra points he attempted in the game.

Taggart said he plans to work with the kickers on improving this week.

“We’ll work hard with our kickers to get better and see if they score some points so that we’re not in that situation later on and it’s going to cost us,” he said.