WKU’s Three Keys to Victory against Navy

Brad Stephens

Get Bobby Help

It was no secret coming into the 2011 season that the WKU offense would revolve around senior running back Bobby Rainey, the Football Bowl Subdivision’s third-leading rusher in 2010. But there was an expectation that sophomore Antonio Andrews and highly-touted freshmen Quartterio Morgan and Marquis Sumler would come off the bench to help Rainey in the rushing game.

That proved not to be the case in the Toppers’ Sept. 1 opener against Kentucky. Andrews saw just three carries, while Sumler and Morgan didn’t touch the ball. A strong WKU rushing attack will help the Toppers keep Navy’s vaunted option offense off the field. But Andrews, Morgan, and others will have to contribute and keep Rainey fresh.

Filling in for ‘X’

Sophomore outside linebacker Xavius Boyd has been one of WKU’s most dynamic playmakers since he first saw the field as a freshman in 2010.  He was a force against UK, recording five tackles, including a sack. This week WKU coaches have decided to move Boyd to defensive end, strengthening what may arguably the Toppers’ deepest position. He’ll rotate with junior Quanterus Smith and seniors Jared Clendenin and Bo Adebayo Saturday.

But who will fill Boyd’s vacated outside linebacker spot? Look for sophomore Bar’ee Boyd and junior Tyler Julian to see time at the position. They will be responsible for keeping Navy’s running backs from getting to the sidelines on option plays.

The Smith Stadium ghosts

The Toppers haven’t won a game at Smith Stadium since a 50-9 win over Murray State on Sept. 20, 2008. When WKU beat the Racers that day, David Elson was Head Coach, Wood Selig was Athletic Director and Willie Taggart was at Stanford coaching running backs. In the time since, the Toppers have had heartbreaking fourth quarter losses in 2008 to North Texas, in 2009 to Arkansas State and in 2010 to Louisiana-Monroe and Middle Tennessee State. Will WKU’s tough home fortunes change in 2011? They’ll get their first chance for a home win Saturday.