‘I think he’s just getting started in that league’: Zappe makes NFL debut, Helton talks UTSA


Marshall C. Canupp

Hilltoppers’ graduate student Bailey Zappe (4) shares a moment with his father during their senior day celebration.

Camden Bush, Football Reporter

WKU Football previewed its upcoming matchup against the UTSA Roadrunners in its weekly press conference Monday morning at the Paul Just Media Center in Diddle Arena. 

“UTSA week, back in conference play and really excited, going on the road against a really good UTSA team.” Head coach Tyson Helton said. “Probably the most talented team in our conference and they’re doing a great job, averaging 500 yards a game and picking up right where they left off last year.”

As Helton was watching game film Sunday to prepare for the Roadrunners, former Hilltopper Bailey Zappe was put in at quarterback for the New England Patriots against the Green Bay Packers.

”I was watching film on UTSA and they said Bailey’s in the game, so I immediately turned on the other TV and had that game on and that’s pretty special, kind of surreal.” Helton said. “You know, you run out there at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers across the other sidelines and to go into overtime. I thought Bailey did a really good job, I wish he could have come out with a win but I thought he had a really good performance and you know, he’s got a bright future ahead of him for sure.”

Zappe entered the game at Lambeau Field after backup quarterback Brian Hoyer exited with an injury. Zappe led the Patriots to overtime with a strong performance but his team ultimately fell to the Packers.

Zappe put together an impressive performance in his limited playing time as he went 10-15 passing for 99 yards and a touchdown. The passing touchdown he threw marked the first passing touchdown by a rookie quarterback in the NFL this season.

“I think he’s just getting started in that league and hopefully he continues to get more and more opportunities.” Helton said.

Helton also spoke on UTSA quarterback Frank Harris, who the Hilltoppers will be trying to stop from having a big game Saturday. 

“I’ve watched him from a young, talented, kind of a raw player to just a true polished quarterback,” Helton said. “He has full command of the offense, you can see they’re allowing him to do a lot of different things now. And really, you’re just trying to contain him more than anything. I don’t think you’re ever going to stop a really good player like him, he’s gonna make his plays.”

The Hilltoppers will be heading to San Antonio after a tough loss in a close battle against Troy at home this week. 

“I want to go back to the Troy game real quick and thank our fans,” Helton said. “They were spectacular, man, they showed up and showed out. It was a great environment, I wish we could have pulled off the win and that would have been great.”

UTSA is 3-2 on the season and is coming off a big victory over MTSU. The only two losses the Roadrunners have taken were in close games against opponents that were ranked at the time in No. 24 Houston, and No. 21 Texas. 

Kickoff against UTSA is set for 5 p.m. CT this Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Football reporter Camden Bush can be reached at [email protected].