Students making plans for WKU-UK game

Kade Bratcher, 8, gets a his WKU jersey signed by quarterback Alex Mallory (16) during the Family Fun Day at Houchens-Smith Stadium on Aug. 27, 2011. 

Kurt Carson

While the WKU and Kentucky football teams are set to battle it out on the field Thursday in Nashville, students are putting the finishing touches on their plans for the game.

Princeton senior Tyler Williams said he is “pumped” to head down to Nashville to see the Hilltoppers face off against the Wildcats.

“I bleed WKU red. Even if we don’t win, which I think we will, the opportunity to cheer on the Tops against the Cats is always awesome,” Williams said.

The game is set to kick off at 8:15 p.m. Thursday at L.P. Field in Nashville and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Taylorsville senior Sandy Goad said the question isn’t whether or not she’ll attend the game, since she and her roommate have already made the arrangements.

But since this game involves two state schools, she’s found herself in a predicament that many others might be able to relate to.

“I am a hardcore UK fan, but I’m also a Western student so it’s hard to balance who I want to win more,” Goad said. “But me and my roommate talked it out and we are going to both wear UK shirts but bring our red towels too.”

Goad said while she is expecting the Wildcats to win, she wouldn’t be disappointed either way.

“It would be good for WKU’s program to get a win against a team like UK,” Goad said.

The Thursday night out-of-town kickoff hasn’t gone over well with some people, however.

Some students said having to pay for gas, driving an hour to watch the game and still having to go to class the next day make it pretty unlikely that they will attend.

A fan bus is being organized through the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation for students and fans to ride to Nashville and back for $20.

Glasgow senior Wesley Peden said while it’s work that is keeping him from going to the game, he might have been able to attend if it had been hosted here in Bowling Green.

“It probably would have been more likely for me to get there, mainly because it’s a lot closer to home and I would have had time to get back and forth to work a lot easier,” Peden said.

However, some students still said scheduling a home game against UK in an NFL stadium such as L.P. Field is good for the football program.

Owensboro sophomore Ben Rice said having a game at the Tennessee Titans’ home stadium is “pretty awesome.”

“It speaks a lot for the university and how much they’ve grown in the past couple of years,” Rice said.

Louisville sophomore Donte Ellison said while he’s a huge UK fan, he understands what the game means for the WKU football program.

“It shows that Western is coming up in the ranks and not just in football,” Ellison said. “The school in general is growing and it’s going to help by being on ESPNU.”

WKU has promoted this game in many ways including social media pages, sending out emails, organizing Family Fun Day and advertising it throughout MASTER Plan.

Initially, the first 4,000 students were going to be allowed in free. But last week, WKU changed that to allow every student who attends to get in free.

Ticket Sales Coordinator John Patterson said the changes will allow students to know that they don’t have to get there so early or risk having to pay for a ticket.

“We’d love to have as many as we can and hopefully we’ll have a great turnout,” Patterson said. “We encourage our students to go to Nashville, have a great time, enjoy this game atmosphere, and we expect to have a great turnout.”