No, there was no Hilltopper football last Saturday, what are you talking about? Okay, unfortunately there was Hilltopper football last Saturday, and visions of 2014 were dancing all over the second half and it was not fun. But, it's a new week and even though its a 2-1 WKU record, there's more business to attend to.
Onto the RedHawks!
Start Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Location: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Ky.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Betting Line: WKU -20.5 (yeah. Still. It opened at 21.5 so it's still down). Over/Under: 67
The View From Miami: Jordan Rinard and Jeremy O'Brien have you covered over at Hustle Belt. In fact, I even did a Q&A with Jordan, that if you click right here, you'll be able to read. How neat is that?
Miami. No, Not That Miami: The RedHawks started the season with a matchup against Presbyterian, a trip to Wisconsin and a showdown at home with arch-rival Cincinnati. So, as you can tell, the RedHawks are coming off their most evenly matched game of the year, where they fell by four to the Bearcats.
So can we really gauge who the RedHawks are yet? Eh...not really. But what we do know is they have a very talented crops of receivers, led by Sam Martin, who's hauled in nine catches for 187 yards (for those of you who don't like to math, that's 20.8 yards per catch). Martin is joined by Jared Murphy (nine catches, 148 yards), Rokeem Williams (five catches, 105 yards) and Chris Hudson (six catches, 104 yards) as 100-yard receivers through the first three games of the year. However, those four have combined for just three touchdowns. As they say, you can't predict football. (I don't think anyone actually says that.)
The RedHawks also have a platoon at running back, but that doesn't mean the position isn't dangerous. Alonzo Smith has 148 yards on 29 rushes and two touchdowns (the only two rushing touchdowns Miami has on the year) while Kenny Young has 124 yards on just 19 touches. The third man in the crowded backfield is Leonard Ross who seems to be the short-yardage guy, having had 21 rushes but just 78 yards to show for it.
Drew Kummer is the main signal caller, and will most likely surpass the 500-yard passing mark on the season (he's currently sitting on 493), and has completed 53.4% of his passes (31-58) with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Tops might have Billy Bahl thrown at them, who has 149 yards on 11-of-29 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.
The Hill-wait for it...Toppers. The Hilltoppers!: Everyone okay after letting the program's first ever Big 10 win slip away? Yeah, didn't think so. And that's okay.
If there's a silver lining in last week's loss, its that it's the first time we've seen the defense completely collapse like that. It was strong against Vandy and it was strong enough against Louisiana Tech. Also, it was the first time we saw Brandon Doughty really get rattled (true life: I was worried we were going to see a repeat of the 2013 Tennessee game when the Tops turned it over six times in seven plays. Luckily, that did not happen), really since that Vols game, and that second half just was going in Indiana's way in every facet of the game (Garrett Schwettman having a field goal get blocked? That won't happen again this year, I guarantee you).
I was impressed by what I saw from D'Andre Ferby in his debut as "the guy," but I wasn't impressed by the numbers. 21 carries (okay, I'll take that) but for only 58 yards (*shiver*) with two touchdowns (that's not bad either). I'm still impressed by how he runs, and I'm not giving up hope that he'll be a good back, but there's also just as good a possibility Ferby is the textbook definition of a short-yardage back. Maybe this week we see a little more Anthony Davis? The one thing I loved was that Brohm didn't try to abandon the running game - that was a good thing.
Prediction: Maybe it's because the 28-17 halftime lead that disappeared in Bloomington is still fresh in my memory bank, but I just don't have any clue how this is a 20+ point spread in favor of the Tops. Miami went toe-to-toe with a team who ran 100 plays from scrimmage last night, and if their quarterback isn't knocked out with a second concussion in as many games, might have defeated Memphis last night.
I have a feeling this week was a living hell for the defense, and hopefully that'll show dividends. If there's a weakness for the RedHawks, it too is defense - they're allowing an average of five touchdowns a game (that's good for 105th in the nation) and is averaging 29 points a game, which may sound fine and dandy, until you realize that is good for tied for 132nd in the country. Ouchhhhh.
It's a small sample size (four quarters to be exact) but the Tops offense looked unstoppable at home against LA Tech, but I don't think we can officially say it's a "home thing" quite yet. Jordan Rinard of Hustle Belt likes the Tops, and as always I like the Tops. Give me WKU, not by 20.5 points, but big. I'll say 49-35. Or something like that.