2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The WKU Offense
Score whenever there’s a chance. The Hilltoppers need more of a running game, and they have to start pushing the deep ball a bit more under the new coaching staff. But to start the shift, the O needs to score again.
There were way too many power outages, scoring 17 points or fewer seven times and losing all seven games. By comparison, going back a few years to the great 2016 season, the offense was held to under 30 points just once, and that was against Alabama.
It starts by converting in the red zone and taking advantage of every opportunity. The Hilltoppers failed on ten trips inside the 20, and scored touchdowns a mere 59% of the time to close off good drives.
The mistakes proved costly in three point losses to Marshall, Old Dominion and Louisville. Ifs and buts … if WKU scored every time it was in the red zone in those three games, it would’ve been 6-6.
Biggest Key To The WKU Defense
Keep teams from running the ball down the front six’s throat. Overall the run defense wasn’t next-level miserable, just sort of miserable.
It allowed just 4.6 yards per carry with 19 touchdowns, but with the way the offense sputtered, controlling the run turned out to be the difference when it came to staying in games.
The Hilltopper D allowed 120 rushing yards or fewer four times, and went 3-1 with the lone loss coming in the 20-17 fight against Marshall. The program is 11-1 in its last 12 games when giving up 120 yards or fewer.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Ty Storey, Sr.
Or Steven Duncan, or Davis Shanley. The quarterback play wasn’t awful last season, but it didn’t elevate the offense and there wasn’t any consistency with three guys in the rotation – Drew Eckels started the season. Duncan and Shanley are still deep in the hunt for the starting job, but there’s a reason Storey transferred over from Arkansas.
Granted, it was partly because SMU’s Ben Hicks came aboard and Texas A&M’s Nick Starkel transferred in, too, but it was also to get a shot at the Tyson Helton offense. The 6-2, 215-pound Storey was a great get for the Hogs, and he’s got the pro passing skills to start stretching the field more. No matter who gets the gig, WKU has to start being the WKU offense again.
Key Game To The WKU Season
at FIU, Sept. 7
If FIU isn’t the best team in Conference USA’s East division, it’s a going to be right up there with Florida Atlantic and Marshall. For WKU, after opening the season up with a likely win over Central Arkansas, beating the Golden Panthers for the first time since 2016 would be a huge deal, especially on the road.
If there are any dreams whatsoever of being a player in the conference race, this might be a must win with a whole slew of tough games ahead. Win, and that means WKU is good enough to beat anyone in the league. Lose, and with road games at Marshall and Southern Miss ahead – there’s a problem.
– WKU Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 WKU Fun Stats
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 81 – WKU 20
– Field Goals: Opponents 23-of-29 – WKU 10-of-17
– Red Zone TDs: WKU 25-of-42 (60%) – Opponents 23-of-49 (47%)