One sample of winning is all it took to turn the WKU football team into a bunch of addicts.
Senior offensive lineman Mychal Patterson said the Toppers’ win at Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, which broke their 26-game losing streak, changed the entire atmosphere around campus.
And that’s a feeling Patterson said he can get used to.
“We got that first little taste of a win, and it’s pretty addicting,” he said. “So I think we’re going to keep on moving.”
Saturday’s home contest against North Texas gives the Toppers (1-6, 1-2 Sun Belt Conference) the chance to win two straight games for the first time since Nov. 3, 2007.
It’s also Homecoming weekend for WKU, and Head Coach Willie Taggart said the team has a responsibility to give the home crowd that same taste of victory.
“It’s going to be big,” Taggart said. “I want our football team to play well for our fans. They haven’t seen our football team play well yet, so we’ve got to come out and do that for them.”
Taggart’s the first to admit that the Mean Green (1-6, 1-3 Sun Belt) have the Toppers’ number.
North Texas is 6-37 since the start of the 2007 season, but it’s 3-0 against WKU during that time.
“North Texas isn’t going to come in here and be afraid of WKU,” Taggart said. “We haven’t beat them yet. You’re only as good as your last game against someone, and our last game against North Texas is a loss. That should be enough motivation by itself.”
The Mean Green edged WKU, 27-26, in 2007, but the last two meetings have been shoot outs. The Toppers averaged 44.5 points of offense in those two games but surrendered an average of 59.5 points per game.
North Texas is led by junior running back Lance Dunbar, who’s totaled 612 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season.
“They’re a really good team,” sophomore defensive tackle Jamarcus Allen said. “They’re a very physical team. The offensive line is good, and they have solid running backs and wideouts, so this is going to be one of the best games at home.”
After starting this season 1-6, North Texas fired Head Coach Todd Dodge following its Oct. 16 loss to Florida International. Mike Canales, the former offensive coordinator, was promoted to interim head coach.
“They have nothing to lose,” Allen said. “They’re going through what we went through last year, so they’re going to come out with something. They’re in the lowest of the lows right now, so I would expect them to try to have their best game.”
Even though North Texas is reeling right now, Taggart said it’s important to remember that WKU has the same record this season as the Mean Green.
Taggart emphasized that dealing with success is as important as dealing with failure, and the Toppers have to keep last week’s victory in perspective.
“All we’ve done is win one ballgame,” he said. “That’s not good enough. We’ve got to do more.”
And the Toppers are craving more.
Sophomore defensive end Quanterus Smith said the streak-snapping win last Saturday night was sweet, but he woke up the next morning wanting another taste.
“It felt good that we won, but on Sunday, I wanted another one,” Smith said. “It feels good to have the monkey off your back, but one’s not near enough.”