College Football Preview: The 2015 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Preview
2014 Record: 8-5
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers look to add the CUSA title to their resume’ in 2015.
Overview: Western Kentucky outscored the opposition 44-39 on the way to an 8-5 record and Bowl win not to mention they also defeated Marshall. Most of those pieces are back which is good news for the offense and maybe not so good for the defense.
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Offense: I don’t know if prolific describes the passing of Brandon Doughty but suffice to say that 4,830 yard on 68% with 49 touchdowns against ten picks are mind boggling numbers. The receiving corps is loaded with Jared Dangerfield (69-825) leading the team with catches while Taywan Taylor (45-767) was 5th which says their was plenty of opportunities to get the ball. For of the top five receivers are back and if you are on the field the ball will come your way. Even though the air game grabbed most of the attention the rushing attack was outstanding with Leon Allen (272-1542) and Anthony Wales (82-518) doing most of the damage and there is no reason the numbers don’t get better with four lineman back with starting experience.
Defense: The defense wasn’t good against the pass and okay versus the run so do things get better with virtually everyone back? Gavin Rocker and Bryan Shorter led the group with 15 TFL and 5.5 sacks each although opponents racked up big numbers through the air because the rush wasn’t always a factor. Nick Holt and Dejon Brown combined for 15 TFL at the linebacker position but again the opposition generally had time to throw when needed which hurt the secondary who were generally overwhelmed especially with most of the starters gone in 2014. There are plenty of new faces in 2015 but the bottom line is yards are there for the taking without consistent pressure from the front seven.
Special Teams: Joseph Occhipinti averaged 37 yards on 49 punts while Garrett Schwettman connected on 16 of 21 field goals. Kylen Towner will handle all return duties after averaging nearly ten yards on punts and scoring on a kick return.
Outlook: The Hilltoppers should obviously be just as strong offensively as they were a season ago. On the flip side, will the defense be just as bad? If WKU gets a little more from that side of the ball then they will be challenging for the conference title.