Desperate for a win, it doesn't get any easier this weekend as Troy, undefeated in the Sun Belt, comes to Bowling Green. The Trojans are coming off an impressive 42-21 win over Louisiana-Monroe. At least WKU can take solace in the fact that the past two games against Troy have been close, falling 21-17 in 2007 and 17-7 last season. Each week, InsideHilltopperSports.com will compile the three biggest keys on each side of the ball to keep WKU in the game:
Keep Spreading Out The Ground Attack:
The Toppers' offense shows the most promise after last week. A lot of the success came on the ground with 281 yards, though more impressively, the ball was distributed nicely between senior Marell Booker (2 TDs), sophomore Bobby Rainey (2 TDs) and senior Tyrell Hayden ( 1 TD). The Toppers probably won't get into the end zone as much, but these three have to continue to share the load.
A Record Is Upon Us:
Senior wide receiver Jake Gaebler needs just two catches to break the school's career mark. Gaebler has figured in quite well over the past two weeks, with 15 catches, so the record catch could come early. Gaebler's ability to spread the field and come up with big grabs is crucial.
Stay Efficient Throwing The Ball:
Redshirt freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes has had his struggles, but seems to have found a rhythm in the short, intermediate routes. This is what he did so effectively at Navy and again last week. Though he didn't throw for big yardage (127 yards), he was an efficient 14-19 passing. Expect more of the same, with a lot of short passes and screens.
Get With The Fundamentals:
This season, the Toppers have arguably had more over-pursuits by their defenders than any other team in college football. Coach David Elson said this week that he's trying to get his defense to focus less on the X's and O's and more on sound fundamentals and technique. Even the slightest improvement would be a boon.
An Already Slim Secondary Gets Slimmer:
There's a lot of banged up guys this week, as freshman Kareem Peterson and sophomore Orlando Misaalefua are both out. To make matters worse, sophomore safety Ryan Beard is out for the rest of the season with a torn PCL. With their struggles, it could get worse. But the replacements, including John Garrett and Jerrod Babik will definitely get their chance to prove themselves.
Mix It Up:
It sounds like a broken record, but somehow, some way, the Toppers have to get some pressure. Elson said that the Trojans like to show a play, then look to the sideline for a possible audible, based on the defensive look. WKU will have to change things up and not bring too many of the same looks, to try to throw stud Troy quarterback Levi Brown at least minutely off.
After the game, catch InsideHilltopperSports.com's extensive post-game, with a full game wrap and audio from coach David Elson
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