WKU has its final chance to pick up that elusive win at home today as he Toppers welcome their rivals Middle Tennessee State for senior day. This will be the final home game for 12 total seniors and 10 current Toppers who will be dressed for action today.
"It's our last home game," Senior Offensive guard Mychal Patterson said. "It's going to be very emotional."
5 Keys to victory
1. Establish The Ground Game Early
Junior Running back Bobby Rainey is currently fifth in the country in rushing with 1244 yards and needs just 54 yards to pass Auburn's Cam Newton into 4th place. In the past three games Rainey has rushed for 100, 152, & 154 yards. He will need to get going early and often against Middle Tennessee for the Hilltoppers to sustain an offensive rhythm. Also look for Antonio Andrews to get a few carries and he's shown what he can do when given the opportunity.
2. Young Defensive Line Continues To Come Of Age
Overlooked in the progress of the defense has been the play of the defensive line. The youthful defensive line of the Hilltoppers continue to make plays up front led by sophomore defensive tackles Jamarcus Allen and Kenny Martin. Sophomores Rammell Lewis, James Harvey, Korentheus Bailey, and junior Bo Adebayo have provided the rotation with key depth. Also if you have not taken notice, none of these players are seniors. At defensive end, junior Jared Clendenin (2.5 sacks) and sophomore Quanterus Smith (3.5 sacks) have continued to provide outside pressure. One of the keys to this game will be the Toppers ability to put pressure on Middle Tennessee's athletic quarterback Dwight Dasher.
3. Big Plays From Kawaun In The Passing Game
Last week, Kawaun Jakes again showed why his coach has so much faith in him. For the season, Jakes has thrown for 1501 yards and ten touchdowns with only five interceptions. Jakes was cool and calm down the stretch against Arkansas State as he finished with two touchdown passes and a touchdown run as well. One of his touchdown passes went to Wide receiver Dexter Haynes, who reeled in a 33 yard catch down the sideline, beating the defensive back for the ball. "Everything happens for a reason", said Haynes, who has proven to be a reliable deep threat. He needs another big game today for the Hilltoppers. Other playmakers such as wide receiver Willie McNeil and tight end Demetrius Coley need big games as well.
4. Speed, Speed, Speed
The Toppers have shown in recently weeks that they can put speed on the field and with explosive players such as Derrius Brooks, McNeil, Donald Campbell, & Tyree Robinson. At any moment an ordinary play can be taken for an 80 yard touchdown. Last week, Brooks had a break out game which provided two interceptions and the game winning score.
5. Big Impact From Senior leaders
Senior Leaders will be counted upon to help lead the Toppers to victory. In particular, WKU will need solid play from Patterson, Linebacker Thomas Majors, Wide receiver Quinterrance Copper, Offensive lineman Preston King, fullback Rod Johnson, and linebackers Chris Bullard & Orlando Misaalefua. King and Patterson will be key in providing holes for Rainey as well as adequate time for Jakes in the pocket. Cooper will be counted upon in both the offense and special teams. Johnson will also aide in leading the way for Rainey. And all three linebackers, led by Majors will be counted upon to fly sideline to sideline making plays in efforts to contain Middle Tennessee's quarterback Dwight Dasher.