WKU won the last two Conference USA titles under former head coach Jeff Brohm, but the Hilltoppers have mightily struggled despite high expectations entering 2017. The team renowned for its high-octane, explosive offense only topped Eastern Kentucky of the FCS by two touchdowns and followed that performance with an embarrassing 20-7 loss at Illinois — a game in which WKU opened as 7.5-point favorites.
Last week, in a rematch of the 2015 and 2016 Conference USA title games, the Louisiana Bulldogs overcame a 12-point deficit in the first half, scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, and dispatched their rival on a chip shot game-winning field goal as time expired. Louisiana Tech escaped the town of Bowling Green, KY with a significant conference victory, causing the Hilltoppers to open C-USA play at 0-1.
The bottom of the conference standings is uncharted territory for the Hilltoppers' roster. From 2014-2016, WKU ranked eighth in the country with a .756 win percentage (31-10) and tied for sixth with 31 victories in three seasons. In the last two seasons alone, WKU fared 23-5, so the team is definitely concerned with dropping two of its first three games.
Meanwhile, Ball State suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Fighting Illini in Week 1 but has smoothly recovered since. The Cardinals won two consecutive contests for the first time since September 2016, sitting comfortably at 2-1. Ball State defeated UAB of the C-USA 51-31 before besting FCS foe Tennessee Tech 28-13. Unlike the Hilltoppers, the Cardinals have strung together three-straight losing seasons in a row, so Mike Neu's program looks improved at 2-1 after two convincing victories (albeit against a weaker schedule).
Your pertinent information...
Kickoff time: 7:00PM
Television: Find the channel for your provider in your area in this PDF.
Weather: Mostly sunny, 89°
Line: WKU -12
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