The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers seem to be having a tough time following the bang that the Tyson Helton era started with in 2019. They did manage to squeak out a win this past weekend against an FCS foe, but things could have easily gone the other way.
With about seven minutes remaining in Saturday’s game against the Chattanooga Mocs, the Hilltoppers found them down 10-6 at home. Tyrell Pigrome then led the offense on a 10-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to Craig Burt Jr. to take the lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Mocs appeared to return the ball out of the end zone and score a touchdown with a little more than a minute remaining. The call ended up being a touchback, however, as the officials ruling that a member of the Mocs’ kick return team had signaled for a fair catch. Chattanooga turned the ball over on downs and WKU escaped with their second win of the season.
Fair catch clearly signaled pic.twitter.com/NuutPVYR7k— Steven Moffett (@Moffstradamus) October 25, 2020
A quick Twitter search will show you what the majority of football watchers thought of the controversial call.
Iffy call or no, the first six games of the season have exposed some immediate needs for the Tops.
Offensive Line Play
The Tops have been dealing with injuries to key offensive linemen throughout the young season and it shows in the numbers. Through six games, WKU quarterbacks have been sacked 14 times. Through the first six games in 2019, they had only been sacked seven times. Rushing production is also down significantly in 2020 as a result of dropping battles in the trenches. To date, they have 662 rushing yards compared to 1312 at this point in the season last year.
In four of their six games this season, WKU have allowed more than thirty points and are averaging 27.8 points allowed for the season. The two games where they allowed fewer than 30 points were wins. Considering their offensive struggles, they simply need to rely on the defense a bit more to put them in position to win games they that they did against Chattanooga.
This one’s pretty self explanatory: hang on to football. To date, the Tops have lost nine fumbles and thrown two interceptions. Despite some struggles, it sounds like Tyrell Pigrome will be the guy going forward as Kevaris Thomas deals with a hip injury.
WKU next play their fourth and final non-conference game of the season with a road trip to Provo to face #10 BYU. Time will tell if they are able to get enough fixed in time to give the Cougars a game.