Though there's been plenty of losses the past two years, there's been no game closer than those with North Texas. Both games have come down to the final seconds. The Mean Green are coming off a 50-26 loss to Troy. Each week, InsideHilltopperSports.com will compile the three biggest keys on each side of the ball to keep WKU in the game:
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Stay In Rhythm With The Quarterbacks:
Coach David Elson gave no hints this weekend that the two quarterback rotation of redshirt freshman Kawaun Jakes and senior Brandon Smith would be in effect again this week. Elson did say that Jakes is the starter, but don't be surprised if that system is used again. Either way, the offense will have to keep some continuity to get anything going.
The Guns Have To Be Ready To Fire:
As bad as the Toppers have been on defense, the Mean Green haven't been a lot better. Opponents have averaged 37.6 points per game this season. This game could mirror last season's game with another shootout. Jakes and company have to have the stamina and legs to keep going in what's likely a similar type of game. They'll be on the field quite a bit.
Stay square on the line:
There will be some shuffling again this weekend, with sophomore center Shelley Anthony out with an injured left elbow. In his place, Cody Hughes will start. It's been a task to keep the same five on the line this season, but the five starting this Saturday have to be on the same page and give Jakes ample time in the backfield.
Get some kind of pressure on quarterback Riley Dodge:
It hasn't happened yet this season, but this would be a good time to get at least a few quarterback hurries. Dodge is coming off an injury and getting him ruffled by pressure from the defense would be a good start to giving the defense a chance to make a few stops.
Keep Passes In Front Of You:
Again, easier said than done. Opponents haven't done anything fancy, but they've been able to get by the Toppers' secondary with relative ease. A big reason is that WKU's DBs have let the opposing receivers get behind them. Then, the quarterback finds them over the top for big gainers that have been part of the problem for WKU.
Keep It In Front Of You:
Along with the pass, the other big crippler has been the Toppers' over-pursuit on countless tackles or coverages. This has happened at all three spots, not just the defensive backs, whether it's getting to the quarterback, a tackle in the flat or middle or that deep pass into the secondary.
After the game, catch InsideHilltopperSports.com's extensive post-game coverage.
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