Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-4, 5-2 C-USA) vs Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-7, 3-4 C-USA)
Date & Time: Saturday, November 30th 2019, 2 PM ET
Location: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
Betting Line: WKU -8.5, O/U 49.5
All-Time Series Record: MTSU leads the all-time series 35-32. The two teams also tied once in 1925. MTSU won last season’s meeting 29-10.
Despite a few hiccups. the Tops have blown expectations for the season out of the water. Their latest triumph came last week with a road win against Southern Miss.
The defense turned in another great day holding the Jack Abraham-led offense to just ten points. DeAngelo Malone lived in USM’s backfield continuing his campaign for league defensive player of the year. Malone took a fumble to the house off of a strip sack by Jeremy Darvin. That unit’s major challenge this week will be containing Asher O’Hara.
It’s also been a strong year for the offense under first-year head coach Tyson Helton. Ty Storey seems to improve every week since he took over the QB1 role. His leading receiver has been redshirt senior Lucky Jackson with 875 yards.
Despite the success they’ve had, WKU QBs have combined to throw for 10 interceptions this season, which is one of the higher totals in the league. Limiting mistakes will need to be a priority for the Tops on Saturday.
The Blue Raiders are C-USA’s best example of a team better than their record would indicate. They just never quite recovered from a brutal early season schedule that included games against Michigan, Duke, and Iowa.
Asher O’Hara’s abilities as a dual threat QB have given his team a fighting chance in many of those games. O’Hara has thrown for 2315 yards this season with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s also rushed for 900 yards with nine touchdowns. MTSU’s rushing offense has totaled 2076 yards this season, which is the third highest total in the league.
Injuries such as that of Reed Blankenship have limited MTSU’s defense for much of the season. They’re allowing 30 points per game and a league-worst 462 total yards per game.
MTSU’s best chance to win this game comes from being able to overpower WKU’s defensive line and establish their own run game. Not many teams have had success with that approach, however, as the Tops allow just 134.8 yards per game on the ground.
This one is a little simpler than most might like it to be. As good as Asher O’Hara is, MTSU is a one-man show. The Tops have one of their more complete teams of the last few years and should keep their hot streak going.
WKU wins this game 32-17