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WKU Football: Gameday Information and Predictions for Week 4 at Troy
The Hilltoppers look to get back in the win column against an old Sun Belt foe in the Troy Trojans.
It’s been a while since the Hilltoppers last took the field. Their win over Houston Christian was a fast, impressive start but an unconvincing finish, leading to there still being questi-
*taps earpiece* I’m receiving some news
*taps earpiece again* Oh. Oh my. Oh dear.
Yes, last week in Columbus was not fun. It was fun for about 20 minutes, but then it quickly became not fun. Big plays allowed by the defense, poor coaching calls (I’m still not over going for it on 4th and 6 from the WKU 40 when it was 21-10) and an offense that collapsed under the weight of a momentous comeback effort.
Game Day Information
Game Date: Saturday, September 21, 2023
Time: 11 AM CT
Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium | Troy, Alabama
TV Channel: ESPNU
Betting line: Troy -4, O/U 57.5
WKU and Troy enter Saturday about as evenly matched as you can get and it should be one of the Group of 5 games of the year. Each team has hopes of competing for their respective conferences title and had preseason hopes of being the New Years Six representative (with blowout losses to Power opponents, however, I think it’s safe to assume those dreams have been kicked down the road to next year).
It’s always fun when old rivals reconnect and this weekend should be no different.
What We’ve Published This Week
Miss any of our coverage from this past week in the lead up to kickoff? Fear not, we have you covered.
BONUS: While it wasn’t published by us, we did a Q&A with our pals over at The Trojan Wall. Shoutout to the homies.
The Towel Rack Staff Predictions
Fletcher Keel (3-0)
Games like this are equal parts fun and nauseating, especially if you have a rooting interest. WKU and Troy enter one spot apart in ESPN’s FPI ranking (Tops at 91, Troy at 90) with the two teams mirroring each other in many ways, just as they did in last year’s meeting.
Last week against Ohio State, while rough, was not indicative of the team WKU is or will be at season’s end. It also saw the first true emergence of Malachi Corley this year, which was very welcomed.
The Hilltopper offense, despite scoring over 40 points against USF and over 50 against Houston Christian, has felt lackluster at times and injuries in the wide receiver room - especially the injury to Corley - no doubt exacerbated that feeling.
Assuming Corley is back to full health (heck, even if he’s at 85% or 90%), I expect him to have a breakout day and for Reed to put his favorite toy back to work in a big way.
I also hope to see more River Helms usage, as Reed gets more comfortable with his new tight end as the game goes along.
Corley’s effectiveness against the Troy defense - which comes into Saturday allowing just 195.3 passing yards per game - and WKU’s effectiveness on defense against Kimani Vidal will be the two biggest deciding factors in the outcome.
I think the Tops have some steam to let off after last week and I think with an offense that’s nearly up to full fire power in the passing game, Topper fans will be in for a show.
I’ll take the Hilltoppers in a technical upset, 35-28, to move to 3-1 before they open CUSA play next week.
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Jared Rosdeutscher (3-0)
WKU narrowly lost to Troy last year in The Houch in a heartbreaker but now that the offense is better I think they can rack up some yards and points. Only problem is the WKU defense allows yards than the high-powered offense can accumulate.
The offense has averaged 394 yards while the defense has allowed an average 490 yards, so we’ll need to see that second number go down tremendously and very fast. Being in Troy makes this one a little more difficult and the WKU defense hasn’t proved they can hold an FBS opponent back much at all so a mix of both of those things makes me believe that Troy will beat the Tops, 36-30.
Matt McCay (3-0)
With the persistent running game issues on defense and the 63-10 result from last week, perhaps it’s time to take a step and admit that this WKU team is not at maximum capacity yet. However, we also haven’t seen a 100% healthy Hilltopper team yet, with injuries to both the receiver room and all throughout the defense.
However, whatever the reason or excuse, WKU should not be struggling this far into the season to have a consistent front six. WKU should not have tendencies to be somewhat anemic compared to other years offensively. Although Reed has completed nearly 65% of his pass attempts, and has thrown for just 80 fewer yards through three games this year than through the first three last year, he has still had several moments where he just looked unsettled and inaccurate.
I’m concerned that WKU needs another week to get right, be it from injury and/or developing in the lab a little bit, so to speak.
Unfortunately, I’ll take Troy over the Tops, 28-24.
Devin Stewart (3-0)
If it was a week later, I’d have money on this game.
Tops on Top in Troy; 35-21
Josh Owens (3-0)
ed. note - Josh has been under the weather this week and didn’t have time or energy to provide analysis. We look forward to his fleshed out thoughts next week.
WKU 31 - Troy 24
Alex Sherfield (3-0)
Last week doesn’t mean that this week is destined to end up with the same result. The Tops closing their two-game road trip on Saturday has potential to play spoiler alert to the Trojans. They’ll be looking to avenge a 1-2 start, with a conference loss to James Madison.
The WKU-Troy series has always shown some great battles, especially dating back to the Sun Belt Conference days. I expect both sides of the trenches to have a very productive ballgame. Offensive line can definitely improve in protecting Austin Reed as the defensive line should make a lot of key plays to keep the Tops in contending fashion.
Troy’s offense has an X factor in Kimani Vidal. Currently, he’s among the country’s best in averaging over 6 yards per carry. Collectively, they’ve rushed for over 400 yards this season. Our offense should be able to have a better day as they’re going up against a Trojans defense who are struggling to make turnovers. This may be a close one but let’s hope for a better showing.
Give me WKU 30, Troy 24.