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WKU Football: Keys to Victory vs. Sam Houston State
What does WKU need to do to become bowl eligible on Senior Day?
Western Kentucky football once again sits on the precipice of mediocrity. In perhaps the most underwhelming performance thus far by a Tyson Helton-led team, WKU is scrapping for bowl eligibility against Sam Houston State on Saturday.
A position few saw coming, Sam Houston State poses a legitimate threat to the Toppers’ plans to salvage a disappointing season thus far. For a 2-8 team, Sam Houston has a heck of a defense, a unit that looked even better numerically early in the season. Even so, Sam Houston’s defense is plenty capable and could force this game into an ugly field goal fest. SHSU’s offense has vastly improved from the beginning of the season. In the first two weeks, SHSU couldn’t score. Since then, Sam Houston has had a much more respectable offense, with passing yards of at least 200 in every game since Week 3.
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This is no slouch FBS transition squad. Many of the players on this team were redshirted last year, meaning, plenty of the players on the field have an extra year of development under their belts than a normal team that didn’t intentionally redshirt a chunk of quality players late in their careers.
WKU honors 13 seniors Saturday. What does WKU need to do to send them out on top in their final home game?
Keys to Victory
Make it Pretty
The more I think about it, the more I think WKU needs to make this an offensive shootout. Why? Because talent. Because Sam Houston will have trouble keeping up. Because a sludgefest 100% favors Sam Houston being in a close game that they could steal at the end. WKU’s porous run defense could rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moments if Western allows Sam Houston to hang around.
Make it Ugly
You know what? You also need to make it ugly. Make it nasty. Show us that you actually want to be down there between the solid white lines and play a great game that you’ve been blessed to play for many years now. Bring some enthusiasm and some nasty qualities to this one, and that should fare well for the Tops.
Win 3rd and 4th Down
Take this how you want. Obviously, converting these opportunites is important, but also simply making good play calls and making good decisions should go quite a ways in determining whether this game is interesting or whether WKU controls it from kickoff to kneel down. Also, what about WKU’s hellish kicking woes? Can the Tops make one through the uprights, please and thank you?
Don’t let Sam Houston Have a Great Day on the Ground
Sam Houston is averaging way under 100 yards per game rushing. This means if WKU could just avoid giving up way over 100 yards, the Tops could be in really good shape to not get upset on Senior Day. If SHSU is one dimensional, it’s yet another way they could struggle.
Do It for the Boys
Listen, screw the crowd. Screw the comments. Screw the inevitable negativity if anything goes sideways. Here’s the main thing: Play and consequently win, for each other. If the Tops internalize making this about each other and not about everything else that’s gone on, they should cover the 12.5 point spread and maybe even double it.
I won’t beat around the bush this time. I think WKU could absolutely struggle. I believe under no circumstances should WKU actually lose. However, I think WKU does the very least else it has to do win this game. I have tremendous respect for SHSU’s defense, so I frankly think their defense will give us trouble. I also believe Western wins this thing in so many scenarios that it’s hard to predict a WKU loss.
I am going to say this thing will be ugly. I think WKU barely makes it through, but they do win on Senior Day, Western Kentucky 19-Sam Houston State 13.