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WKU Football prepares for regular season finale against FIU

Dominic Di Palermo
Running back L.T. Sanders (7), left, and Easton Messer (8) pray before their game against Sam Houston State University at L.T Smith Stadium in Bowling Green on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

WKU Football coaches sat down with the media, Monday, to discuss Saturday’s regular season ending showdown at FIU.

WKU heads down to the Sunshine State following a 28-23 win at home against Sam Houston State. The win marked the sixth of the season and clinched WKU’s bowl eligibility. 

“It’s big. We take a lot of honor and pride in going to bowl games here.” Head Coach Tyson Helton said. “We take a lot of pride in playing in them and winning them as well.”


While the Hilltoppers were able to clinch bowl eligibility, it’s been an underwhelming season for WKU to this point. Despite heading into the campaign as favorites to top the conference, WKU finds themselves at 4-3 in conference play with no chance of reaching the C-USA championship game. Two newcomers to the conference clinched those spots earlier this season as New Mexico State and Liberty will battle it out for the conference crown on Friday, Dec. 1. 

“We’re here to try to win seven, we’re here to try to get into a bowl game and win eight,” Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers. “If we can finish up and stack two more wins, then we will have finished the way we needed to in the last month of the season. “

WKU has a perfect opportunity to reach that seventh win on Saturday against FIU. The Panthers sit at second-to-last in the conference with a league record of 1-6. 

Along with the second-to-last standing in conference play, FIU find themselves second-to-last in total offense and defense in C-USA. The Panther offense is averaging 19 points a game, while their defense is allowing 31 a contest. 

Redshirt junior receiver Kris Mitchell is the man to watch out for on the Panthers offense. Mitchell is first in C-USA in receiving yards with 1002, 96 yards ahead of WKU standout Malachi Corley, and has recorded seven touchdowns on the year. 

On the other side of the ball, Senior linebacker Donovan Manuel has been a dominant force on the Panthers defense. Manuel is third in the conference with 111 total tackles, and is tied for first in total tackles for loss with 15.5

WKU will kickoff their final regular season against the Panthers at 2 p.m. CT. 

WKU is favored by 10.5 points, according to ESPN.

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