The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are facing a tall order this week when they take on Navy, but not an unfamiliar one. The vicious Navy rushing attack is averaging 345 rushing yards per game; a tough backfield starring fullback Noah Copeland, who leads his team in rushing with 241 yards. The Midshipmen offense, however, is undoubtedly led by senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who left the game against WKU last season with a severe injury in the first half.
Reynolds and company will be facing a young and inexperienced Western Kentucky defense that has given up over 400 hundred yards on average to its opponents; 179.7 of those coming on the ground (81st in FBS). The WKU defense is led by second-year defensive coordinator Nick Holt, who seems to be having a tough time figuring things out for his team this season. Nick Holt preached earlier this week that the main goal for his defense was to eliminate big plays. This is not going to be easily achieved considering WKU's struggles so far.
Thankfully for Nick Holt, head coach Jeff Brohm is doing an excellent job controlling the Topper offense. Senior quarterback Brandon Doughty has thrown for 1,459 yards (2nd in FBS) for a WKU offense that is averaging 47 points per contest. Getting the run going early with junior running-back Leon Allen will be important this week. If Jeff Brohm can get the running game involved and be successful doing so early, watch out. When looking at the statistics offensively, it's hard to believe Western Kentucky is sitting at 1-2. Both of their losses were extremely close, and definitely winnable games; most notably their Week 3 loss to Middle Tennessee in triple overtime.
Jeff Brohm likes how his Hilltopper team spent its BYE week, and even said he thinks his defense is ready to stop Navy's triple-option rushing attack. Nick Holt's defense won't have the luxury of playing against a backup quarterback this time against the Midshipmen, and I fear that Keenan Reynolds will be too much too handle.
WKU has proved to me that it can score on anyone and their Aunt Sally to keep themselves team in the game, despite their (at times) atrocious defense. Unless Nick Holt proves me wrong and once again works his magic against Navy, I think WKU loses a close one on Saturday, 48-44.
September 27th, 2014 - 3:30PM (ET)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, MD)