Coming off a bye week, the Hilltoppers continue Sun Belt Conference road action at Troy. The Trojans have also gone 12 days between games, and have won two consecutive conference games over North Texas and South Alabama to sit 2-1 in league play. WKU earned its first-ever win over the Trojans with a 41-18 victory in the 2011 season finale.
Troy leads 8-1-1
In Troy: Troy leads 4-0-1
First Meeting: Tie 10-10, Sept. 11, 1976
Last Meeting: WKU 41-18, Nov. 26, 2011
Joe Davis, play-by-play
Jay Walker, analysis
Radio: Big Red Radio Network
(103.7 WPTQ-FM; 1450 WWKU-AM in Bowling Green)
Randy Lee, play-by-play
Leo Peckenpaugh, analysis
Scott Thompson, sideline
Live audio on wkusports.com
- WKU picked up its first-ever victory over Troy last season, closing out the 2011 campaign with a 41-18 win over the Trojans in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers will now look for their first victory on Troy's home field, as the Trojans have won four of the five previous meetings on their home turf, with the other contest resulting in a tie.
After its win over Arkansas State, the Hilltoppers became just the third team in the history of the Sun Belt Conference to start a season with a 4-1 record or better. In 2011, Louisiana-Lafayette began the year by winning six of its first seven games, and in 2001 Middle Tennessee began the year 5-0.
The Hilltoppers are 1-0 to start Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since joining the league in the 2009 season. The Hilltoppers have now won eight straight Sun Belt Conference games dating back to last season. That is the longest active conference-game winning streak in the Sun Belt, and the third-longest active streak in the nation. Both Houston (Conference USA) and Northern Illinois (MAC) have won nine straight regular-season league games.
WKU is also 7-1 in its last eight road conference games dating back to the 2010 campaign. That lone loss came at Troy (28-14) in the 2010 season finale.
- The Hilltoppers received seven votes in this week's USA Today Sports Coaches Poll. It is the third time in the last four weeks that WKU has appeared in the poll.
On A Roll - Winners of four of their first five games to start, the Hilltoppers are off to the program's best start since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision. It is also the best start overall since the 2000 team won its first eight games en route to an 11-2 season, and Ohio Valley Conference championship and a berth in the Division I-AA Playoffs. Dating back to last season, WKU is 11-2 in its last 13 games, with the only two losing coming at the hands of the #1-ranked teams in the country - LSU last season and Alabama earlier in 2012.
Mauro Of A Good Thing - With the Hilltoppers trailing 13-0 at halftime, and senior QB Kawaun Jakes sidelined with an injury, redshirt freshman James Mauro stepped into the spot light at Arkansas State, and took advantage of his chance under center. After attempting just six career passes, the Hurst, Texas, native went 8-for-12 against the Red Wolves for 104 yards and two scores. He led WKU to 26 unanswered points after halftime for the eventual 26-13 victory. Three of Mauro's eight third-quarter completions went for over 20 yards.
Henry Doubles Up - Sophomore tight end Mitchell Henry proved to be Mauro's top target in the comeback at ASU, as he hauled in a team-best four catches for 43 yards. He was also on the receiving end of both of Mauro's scoring throws - a one-yard reception, and a 22-yard TD catch. Not only was it the first two-touchdown game of Henry's career, it was also the first by a Hilltopper receiver since Jake Gaebler caught a pair of touchdown passes at Middle Tennessee on Oct. 24, 2009.
Andrews Keeps On Running - For the third straight game, junior running back Antonio Andrews established a new career high for rushing yards as he ran for 215 yards on 29 carries at Arkansas State. That came on the heels of a two other 100-plus yard games as the former Kentucky Mr. Football finished with 125 rushing yards at Kentucky on Sept. 15 and 136 against Southern Miss on Sept. 22. In the last three games combined, Andrews has averaged 158.7 yards per game (476 yards on 78 carries), and scored five rushing touchdowns. For the season, he is currently ranked second nationally averaging 213.0 all-purpose yards per game, and leads the Sun Belt with 108.4 rushing yards per game. In fact, this week's game with Troy features the only two backs in the league averaging over 100 yards per game. Troy's Shawn Southward comes in averaging 103.2 yards per game on the ground.
Q Leading the D - Senior defensive lineman Quanterus Smith put together a career day against Arkansas State two weeks ago, finishing with a career-high 5.5 tackles for loss and a career best 3.5 sacks against the Red Wolves. Smith also had a three-sack effort in the second game of the season at #1 Alabama. Entering this week's game, Smith leads the nation averaging 1.62 sacks per game, and ranks fourth nationally with a conference-best 2.38 tackles for loss per contest. Thanks in part to Smith's efforts, the Hilltoppers currently rank 14th nationally in sacks averaging 3.00 per game.
4-1 Start Keeps Rare Company - Winners of four of the first five games of the season, WKU became just the third Sun Belt Conference team since 2001 to open a season 4-1. With a win this past weekend over Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette has also joined that group as it currently sits at 4-1. ULL also got off to a strong start in 2011, starting the year 6-1. In 2001, Middle Tennessee opened the season with a 5-0 record. The Hilltoppers also join the 2011 FIU squad as the only two teams in league history to finish their nonconference schedule with a 3-1 record.