Preview: WKU tired of just talking, not walking

Head football coach Willie Taggart hypes up student tailgaters in Topperville on Sept. 18 before WKU’s home opener against Indiana.

Zach Greenwell

It’s not a stretch to say WKU could break its 25-game losing streak Saturday at home against Louisiana-Monroe.

There’s plenty of evidence for the argument, including the fact that WKU nearly knocked off the Warhawks on the road last season.

But it’s unlikely anyone will hear the Toppers (0-5, 0-1 Sun Belt Conference) say that.

As the number of losses increases, the Toppers said they’ve become tired of making statements they don’t back up.

Junior running back Bobby Rainey said playing at home is certainly an advantage.

“But we can’t just sit here and talk about things that we need to do. Talking isn’t getting us anywhere,” Rainey said.

Senior linebacker Chris Bullard said WKU has been saying all season long that it’s getting closer to breaking through.

But Bullard said, quite frankly, it’s all getting a little old.

“We’re coming back home, and we’ve got to make something happen,” Bullard said. “This is the year that everybody says, ‘You’ve got a chance. You’ve got a chance.’ You get tired of hearing that you’re close.

“It’s time to put it all together and put it on one page, and come out and dominate somebody.”

The Toppers fell, 21-18, at ULM last season, and while Bullard thinks the team have a good shot this weekend, he also said there’s no reason to think they can just stroll to a win.

“Just like they’re a different team, we’re a different team,” Bullard said. “I feel like we’ve been doing a better job, and this will be the one we put everything together in.”

Head Coach Willie Taggart said a strong showing Saturday will be important to more than just the Toppers.

A crowd of 20,772 — the second-largest in Houchens-Smith Stadium history — watched WKU’s first home game against Indiana, and Taggart said he’s aware that fans are growing just as restless as the team.

“Our fans don’t have to be here for us, but they’re here, and we owe it to them,” Taggart said. “Every day when we wake up this week, we should be thinking about them and wanting to put on a show for them.”

ULM is 2-3 this season, but the Warhawks are coming off a 20-17 win over Florida Atlantic.

They’re led by freshman quarterback Kolton Browning, who’s passed for 1,075 yards and six touchdowns this season. Browning is also ULM’s leading rusher with 178 yards.

ULM Head Coach Todd Berry said he’s afraid that Saturday could be a “trap game” for the Warhawks.

“They’ve hurt themselves more than other people have hurt them,” Berry said. “They’re talented, they’re desperate, and we have to understand that.”

No one knows that WKU is “desperate” better than Taggart, but he said he can only say it so many different ways.

Taggart said he never wants the Toppers to stop talking, but at some point, they’ll have to couple it with some results.

“I’m hungry for this victory,” Taggart said. “We need one badly. It would be nice to do it this week at home. Everybody should just go out there and leave it all on the field.

“They should have to drag us off the field.”