Hilltoppers prepare for Charlotte after disappointing Homecoming defeat


Tucker Covey

The Hilltoppers run onto Feix Field ahead of their Homecoming matchup with UNT on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. WKU lost 40-13.

Camden Bush, Football reporter

WKU Football is preparing to head to North Carolina to square off with the Charlotte 49ers Saturday at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

The matchup for the Hilltoppers comes a week after a tough home loss in which North Texas defeated WKU 40-13. 

“Charlotte week, going on the road and facing a motivated Charlotte team,” head coach Tyson Helton said. “Charlotte had a great game against Rice, scoring 56 points at their place and that’s not easy to do.”

Charlotte’s victory over Rice last week came in blowout fashion in a result that was surprising to many. Going into last week the 49ers were 1-7 on the season, with the lone win coming in a 42-41 game against Georgia State.

After the 1-7 start the team decided to fire head coach Will Healy. After firing Healy the 49ers had their best game of the season.

“What usually happens when you lose your head coach it usually goes one of two ways,” Helton said. “Either men rally and you see what you saw against Rice, against them they were really impressive. You don’t just go to Rice, who is a quality football team, and put up 56, so that says a lot about them and the coaches that are leading them currently. That’s one way, or they go the other way, which is they just fold and they didn’t do that. So I think they’ve rebounded, I think they’ve got a new sense of competence.”

The Hilltoppers will need a win over the 49ers if they want to stay alive in the race to the conference championship. The loss to North Texas last week badly hurt the Hilltoppers chances as it put WKU in third place in the conference. Not only will the Hilltoppers need to win games from here on out, but they will need North Texas to lose some.

After the North Texas game Helton was not pleased with the offensive performance.

 “By far our worst performance offensively,” Helton said. “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and find out if we can be a good offense because right now we’re not a good offense.”

Monday, Helton seemed more encouraged by the offense. He claimed that after watching film the team was able to move the ball well but was just set back by some unfortunate penalties. 

“I think we’re really close offensively,” Helton said. “To say we only scored 13 points, you know, that was bad. But, again, when I watch the film and [see we gained] 466 yards, there’s lots of really good football out there. We just got to clean up some things.”

The Hilltoppers are seen as heavy favorites ahead of Saturday’s matchup. ESPN has WKU listed as 16.5 point favorites, but Helton views this as a game that will come down to the wire.

“If we play good football then, you know, I feel good about our chances going there,” Helton said. “But this won’t be an easy game by any means. It’ll be a back-and-forth, down the stretch type of game. I think our guys know that.”

WKU and Charlotte will square off Saturday at 11 a.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.