Well, this is a weird feeling. For the first time in the 2015 season, the Hilltoppers are playing a collegiate football game on a Saturday. It's an even weirder feeling when you take into consideration that the last time the Tops played a game on a Saturday (not called the WKU Spring Game), was November 22nd. That was 300 days ago. It was also a 45-7 win over UTSA and the final home game of the 2014 slate.
Anyway, a 3-0 start is in sight for the Brohmsquad, and the Indiana Hoosiers - who are also 2-0 - are the only thing standing in their way. Who would have thought these two teams would be a combined 4-0 heading into this week?
Start Time: 3:00 p.m. CT
Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington Ind.
Stream: WatchESPN app, ESPN3.com
Radio: WKU - Randy Lee on the WKU IMG Network. Indiana - Don Fischer on the Indiana Hoosier Sports Network.
Betting Line: Indiana -2. Over/under - 71.5
The View From Bloomington: Kyle Robbins and his crew have things down pat over at The Crimson Quarry. I even did a Q&A for them, where I essentially wrote a novella even though I was only asked five questions. My bad, Kyle.
The Whoosiers: How clever is that? The "Whoosiers". Get it? Like instead of Hoosiers, it's...you know what, never mind.
IU is the living embodiment of how being 2-0 is 2-0, no matter how ugly it is. The Hoosiers escaped an opening-week upset to Southern Illinois with a 48-47 victory and defeated FIU last week thanks in part to a late-game pick-six that helped seal the deal.
But, don't let the near upsets fool you - there is some danger in the offense. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has tossed over 580 yards on 33 completions this year, but does only have two touchdowns to show for his efforts. Former UAB Blazer (that's the last time we'll say that phrase, unlike the 25 billion times ESPNews will say it)
Jordan Howard is, well, doing what Jordan Howard does - rushing for 304 yards (which only leads the Big 10) on his first 47 carries of the year, and adding three touchdowns to that number.
However, as Kyle Robbins said in is Q&A with us, the receiving corps is a bit thin. Ricky Jones (11 catches, 242 yards) and Simmie Cobbs, Jr. (seven catches, 119 yards) have combined for 361 of the Hoosiers' 583 passing yards (that's 62%, for you math nerds out there. HAHAHAHAHA, nerrrrrrrds), so that could spell one of two results; 1.) WKU shuts down the passing game early or 2.) a guy like Michael Cooper (76 yards, four catches) or Mitchell Paige (63 yards, six catches) come out of nowhere and burn WKU time. And time. And time. And time again.
Lets hope it doesn't come to that.
Big Red's Bunch: First the good - what a win last week. The Tops got the week one offensive struggle monkey off the back, guys who are supposed to look good (Brandon Doughty, Taywan Taylor, Jared Dangerfield) looked good and the memory of last year's 59-10 loss to Louisiana Tech is no more. Revenge is sweet!
But, of course, there is bad. Leon Allen is lost for the year, the defense - for how well they played against Vandy - left me with some 2014-esque questions after the LA Tech win, and for gosh sakes the Bulldogs were the second win of the season but the Tops in speaking about it make it seem like they won the damn conference already.
The key to the game is not whether Doughty can replicate success from last Thursday - we've seen him replicate and replicate and replicate. He'll be fine. I think the defense is fine too. They're going to make some plays, they're going to allow some plays. That's how football, especially WKU football, goes. The key to the game is the play of D'Andre Ferby and Anthony Davis - how will they step up in Allen's absence? I've been incredibly impressed in the small samples of Ferby we've seen, and Davis used to be a Hoosier, so he'll be wanting to show out.
Indiana is a big test. No, it's not an SEC squad (but, then again, are we gonna call Vandy or the 2012 & 2013 iteration of the Kentucky Wildcats an "SEC squad" either?), but the Big 10 has a rich football tradition and while it may seem like the two teams are equal in terms of actual talent, a win for WKU will just continue the improving profile of one of college football's great stories.
Prediction: I've read a lot of stuff from the Indiana side of things leading into this weekend, and there is one constant theme - this game is going to be a shootout (Gee, where have I heard that before?). Luckily, Western Kentucky is well equipped for shootouts. It's almost as if this team was built for shootouts. And, if it's a shootout Indiana fans want, I'll gladly take it.
The one thing that will absolutely doom the Tops is if Brohm completely abandons the running game and goes almost exclusively to a passing game plan. I don't think that'll happen, but if it does, the Tops will be in trouble.
I don't know why, and I don't know if its wishful thinking or an expectation, but I really want Ferby to do in Bloomington what Antonio Andrews did in Lexington in 2012, when he truly broke out and became the workhorse we all remember and love.
My prediction! Right. I don't think there's a chance in hell the Hilltoppers finish 2015 undefeated. No way. They're going to slip up against someone. LSU, MTSU, Marshall are all prime candidates, but Indiana could be sneaky. I, however, do see the Tops moving to 3-0 and I do see a ton of points scoring. Give me Big Red's Bunch by a 59-50 margin.