FACTS & STATS: Site: Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium (22,113) —
Bowling Green, Kentucky. Television: CUSA Digital. Home Record: ODU 2-2, WKU
1-1. Away Record: ODU 1-2, WKU 1-3. Neutral Record: ODU 0-0, WKU 0-0.
Conference Record: ODU 1-3, WKU 0-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Old Dominion Monarchs and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
will both try to halt losing streaks on Saturday afternoon, as the Conference
USA foes square off at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Since winning its first-ever C-USA game at Rice back on Sept. 20 (45-42), ODU
has fallen to 1-3 in league play with three straight losses, most recently
dropping a 42-35 decision at Texas-El Paso on Oct. 11.
WKU is one of the few teams in the conference that have fared worse than ODU,
as it is sitting at just 2-4 and 0-3 in league play following a two-game
losing skid. The Hilltoppers’ back-to-back losses both come in high-scoring
affairs, losing to UAB on Oct. 4, 42-39, and Florida Atlantic last weekend,
This marks the first-ever meeting between these newly acquainted conferences
ODU’s offense has been impressive this season, especially considering this is
its first year as a member of the FBS. The unit puts up 30.6 ppg and 416.6 ypg
while scoring touchdowns on 75 percent of its red-zone possessions.
Taylor Heinicke is in the midst of a strong campaign under center, as he’s
completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,815 yards, 19 touchdowns (one
rushing) and eight interceptions.
The Monarchs possess one of the best receiving duos in the league. Zach Pascal
has tallied 37 receptions for 509 yards and five touchdowns, while Antonio
Vaughan has picked up 31 receptions for 433 yards and seven scores.
An effective two-tailback system is spearheaded by Gerard Johnson (450 yards,
TD) and Ray Lawry (403 yards, seven TDs).
ODU’s downfall has come on the defensive side of the ball, where it hasn’t
been able to stop anyone in allowing 36.9 ppg and 466.9 ypg.
Fellonte Misher and D.J. Simon are tied for the team lead with 50 tackles,
while Simon has added 6.0 TFL and a sack. Christian Byrum has picked off a
pair of passes.
While ODU’s offense has been strong, WKU’s has performed even better, ranking
fifth in the nation in yardage (547.0 ypg) and eighth in scoring (42.2 ppg).
The Hilltoppers’ are led by one of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks in
Brandon Doughty. He ranks 10th in the FBS in completion percentage (.682),
fifth in yards (2,500) and tied for seventh in touchdowns (19), while throwing
just four interceptions. He’s already just 358 yards and three touchdowns shy
of the respective single-season school records.
Doughty does a great job spreading the ball out to several receivers, as six
players have caught at least 20 passes. Jared Dangerfield (34 receptions, 349
yards, four TDs), Taywan Taylor (30 receptions, 405 yards, three TDs), Willie
McNeal (30 receptions, 287 yards, four TDs) and Antwane Grant (28 receptions,
361 yards, three TDs) anchor the deep unit.
Leon Allen is an every-down back. He’s piled up 534 yards and five touchdowns
on 119 carries, while adding 24 receptions for 183 yards as well.
Just like its counterpart, WKU has had difficultly stopping its opponents,
yielding 39.5 ppg and 533.8 ypg, while both numbers rank in the bottom 10
Nick Holt is one of the few bright spots for the disappointing defense with 62
tackles, 5.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks. Bryan Shorter has been a solid pass rusher
with 4.0 sacks.
Expect a high-scoring matchup in this showdown between two potent offenses
going up against each other’s porous defensive units. It might come down to
who has the ball last, but WKU should have a leg up playing in its home
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Kentucky 48, Old Dominion 45