WKU seeking fifth consecutive win over North Texas

Members+of+the+Big+Red+Marching+Band+moves+onto+Feix+Field+ahead+of+their+halftime+performance+during+the+matchup+with+UAB+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+21%2C+2022.+WKU+won+20-17.

Tucker Covey

Members of the Big Red Marching Band moves onto Feix Field ahead of their halftime performance during the matchup with UAB on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. WKU won 20-17.

Camden Bush, Football reporter

The Hilltoppers are preparing to square off with the North Texas Mean Green in WKU’s Homecoming game on Saturday.

The matchup comes as the Hilltoppers’ second straight home game after a 20-17 win over UAB last Friday.

“North Texas week, Good to have another home game.” Head coach Tyson Helton said. “Got a really good North Texas team coming in. One of the top offenses in the conference, playing a very solid defense as well. Should be a tremendous challenge, but it’s good we get them at home. It’s a big conference game for sure.”

The matchup Saturday will be important in determining the C-USA championship race as the Hilltoppers and the Mean Green are currently tied for second place in the conference. WKU opened the week as 10-point favorites over North Texas. The Mean Green are hoping to bounce back after dropping a close game against UTSA last week.

“Coach Latrell does a great job preparing his guys, and I know they had a tough one last week at UTSA,” Helton said. “They were in the lead for most of the game, it was a back and forth game and UTSA was able to pull it off. So I know North Texas has their jaw set trying to come in here and win,  and so will we, and it should make for a great match up and I’m looking forward to it.”

The Mean Green stand at 4-4 on the season, dropping games to SMU, UNLV, Memphis and UTSA. Despite these losses, North Texas stands at 3-1 in conference play on the season. 

After picking up a conference win in a defensive battle against UAB last Friday, the Hilltoppers sit at 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. WKU’s win last week came courtesy of a strong defensive effort, highlighted by redshirt junior Kahlef Hailassie’s game-winning interception. 

This week Hailassie was announced as the C-USA defensive player of the week for his performance. 

Helton spoke to the fact that the Hilltoppers will need to have another strong defensive performance and will need the offense to step up to beat North Texas Saturday.“Defense wins championships,” Helton said. “If you want to win, have a really good defense that produces turnovers. That’s why you win, and that’s a big box that we checked on several weeks of the season. Again, I think they’ll be put to the test again against North Texas. Offensively, we did some good things, but there were twice where we got the ball across the fifty and didn’t do anything with it […] those are the things we have to correct and fix. Particularly against a team like North Texas.”

The Hilltoppers and Mean Green are tied in their all-time series against each other 4-4. The Hilltoppers, however, have won four straight and will be looking to make it five Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT.

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