WKU heads back out on the road in search of its first win of the season, visiting Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, Md. This will be the first meeting between the Hilltoppers and the Midshipmen, and the beginning of a four-game series between the two schools.
Hilltoppers vs. The Service Academies - Saturday's game will mark the second time in its 91- year history that WKU will face off against a United States Service Academy on the gridiron. The Hilltoppers defeated the Coast Guard Academy 27-0 to win the 1963 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla. While this week's game starts a multi-year series with Navy, WKU also has a scheduled future series with Army.
INT Streak Continues - Thanks to a fourth-quarter interception of Central Arkansas quarterback Robbie Park, the Hilltopper defense continued a streak of at least one pick in each of the first three games of the season. This time, it was senior linebacker L.J. Harbison that recorded his first career INT. WKU has posted four interceptions so far this season - the second most in the Sun Belt Conference, and a total that is tied for 20th-best in the nation.
Moore of the Best - Senior punter Jeremy Moore continues to put up impressive numbers early in the season, and saw them improve after averaging 46 yards per kick last week against Central Arkansas. So far on the season, Moore is averaging 44.3 yards per kick - the best punting average in the Sun Belt Conference. It is also the 14th-best average among Football Bowl Subdivision punters.
Momentum at the Midway Point - For the second straight game, the Hilltoppers went into the halftime locker room with momentum thanks to a score in the final minute of the second quarter. WKU trailed by just eight points against South Florida at the break after a Casey Tinius 31-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the half. That trend continued last week as Brandon Smith capped off a 15-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run to cut the Hilltopper deficit in half with just 24 ticks remaining in the second quarter.
Versatile Vasquez - Though he has battled for the quarterback job throughout his career at WKU, redshirt freshman Marcus Vasquez finished as WKU's top receiver last Saturday against UCA. Vasquez caught four passes for 55 yards - the highest yardage total for a Hilltopper receiver so far this season. In addition, Vasquez rushed for 13 yards against the Bears. He is the only Hilltopper this season to be credited with rushing attempts, passing attempts and receptions.
Smith To The End Zone - For the first time this season - and second time in his career - quarterback Brandon Smith scored a rushing touchdown as he found the end zone right before halftime last week. His only other rushing touchdown came last season at Troy. Smith also led WKU in rushing for the second straight game as he carried the ball 16 times for 59 yards. That came on the heels of a 105-yard game against South Florida.
Kawaun at QB - After Smith went to the sidelines with an injury late in last week's game, redshirt freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes took his turn under center, and responded by completing nine of 14 passes for a team-high 75 yards. Entering the game, Jakes had attempted just three passes in his career - all in the season opener at Tennessee - and completed one for five yards.
Navy Knows Big Wins - Since 2003, Navy has won 13 games against teams that can automatically qualify for a BCS Bowl. That is tied for the most wins with Utah - which crashed the BCS party last season and won the Sugar Bowl over Alabama - for the most BCS wins by non-automatic qualifiers. Only one other school has double-digit wins over that stretch as TCU has won 11 games.