Three keys to WKU beating USF

Jonathan Lintner

1. Contain the quarterback

It was Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez, then Kentucky’s Mike Hartline, and finally, Indiana’s Ben Chappell who all wreaked havoc on the WKU defense.

In all three of those quarterbacks, the Toppers saw a different look — from speed to pocket passers.

This weekend WKU faces the tall task of stopping South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels, a run-based quarterback. Although Daniels has completed just 47.6 percent of his passes this season, he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

WKU has yet to shut down an opposing quarterback. The losing streak will continue if that trend does.

2. Find the thunder

A third down thunder-less game at Houchens-Smith Stadium didn’t bode well for the WKU defense, which allowed Indiana’s offense to convert on 10 of 13 third downs last weekend.

Without improvement from the Toppers, expect similar numbers  on Saturday.

Former USF quarterback Matt Grothe and the Bulls’ offense broke the WKU defense on 8 of 13 third downs in 2009. Daniels, much like Grothe, will escape the pocket when a play breaks down. He’ll run. He’ll convert — unless the Toppers’ defense improves.

3. Bobby be fresh

For the second straight weekend, WKU plays a major-conference opponent coming into the game after a week off.  So to junior running back Bobby Rainey — ultimately the main cog in the WKU offense — now isn’t a time to let the fatigue of four straight games set in.

Because when Rainey wasn’t moving the ball against Indiana, the Toppers as a whole couldn’t move it.