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WKU Football looks to bounce back against MTSU after two straight losses

Emilee Arnold
Sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Holiday (6) and junior offensive lineman Mark Goode (76) celebrate after a touchdown during WKU’s game against Houston Christian on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. WKU won 52-22.

WKU Football coaches sat down with the media to discuss this Thursday’s Conference-USA opener against rival Middle Tennessee State.

“Excited about opening up conference play with a great opponent.” Head coach Tyson Helton said. “Big rivalry game in Middle Tennessee.”

WKU heads into conference play on a two-game slide. The Hilltoppers have dropped back-to-back games on the road against Ohio State and most recently Troy.


Fortunately, the short week forces the Hilltoppers to move on from the tough 27-24 loss at the hands of the Trojans rather quickly. Thursday night’s matchup kicks off a four-game stretch of weekday night games, as WKU will not play a Saturday game in the month of October. 

“Five days turnaround from our last game, in some ways I kinda like it.” Helton said. “Had a tough loss at Troy and I can’t think of any better way, hurrying up five days later and trying to get back on that field.”

Prior to the start of the 2023 season, many Conference-USA pundits believed the Hilltoppers would be very successful in conference play, as WKU was first in the preseason rankings receiving 18 first place votes. 

Just like WKU, MTSU find themselves in a similar stretch of tough losses as the Blue Raiders have started the season 1-3. Alabama, Missouri and Colorado State were all successful in taking down MTSU with the lone Blue Raider win coming against Murray State. 

Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Nicloas Vattiato, the Blue Raider offense has been middle of the road through four games. MTSU is averaging 358.5 yards per game, which ranks fifth in the Conference and 90th in the FBS. 

The defensive unit for the Blue Raiders has also been average through the first part of the year. MTSU ranks fourth in the conference in total defense allowing 381.5 yards a game. Not unlike WKU, MTSU has struggled stopping the pass this year giving up 242.3 passing yards per game which is definitely something to watch for with the air raid Hilltopper offense.  


These are two teams in dire need for a win, eagerly looking to get off to a good start in conference play. I expect Austin Reed and his weapons to take advantage of this MTSU team that struggles with stopping the air attack and believe the Hilltoppers talent will be too much for the Blue raiders to handle under the Thursday night lights. 

WKU is favored by six points according to ESPN.

Football reporter Jake McMahon can be reached at [email protected].

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