WKU Football: Hilltoppers vs. Old Dominion — Staff Predictions
The Hilltoppers have a short turnaround following their blowout win over Charlotte, as they’ll take on Old Dominion on Friday in front of a national TV audience.
When the season began, this game had all the billing of a difference maker in the CUSA East race. And, while that still might be the case, it’s for a very different reason; instead of potentially deciding the conference victor, the loser of this one might be out of the running to win the division crown.
Fletcher Keel: 4–2
I hate jumping in head first based off the sample size we got last week, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. The Tops returned to form, doing what they do best — passing the football and scoring the points.
In all, WKU garnered over 500 passing yards and Mike White tossed five touchdowns.
The running game also saw somethings get better — it still isn’t great, by any means, but it is better.
I’ll be shocked if Sanford returns to the game plan that we saw in the first five weeks of the year. I think he understands what will work and what wont, and ODU is a team that’s severely down, and the Tops have the opportunity to put them out.
I’ll take the Tops, again, by a 35–14 final score.
Ross Shircliffe: 3–3
It was great to finally see the return of the passing game last week. Charlotte may be an awful team, but after the UTEP performance, it’s encouraging to see WKU handle inferior team like they have in prior seasons. Old Dominion is a slight step up from UTEP and Charlotte. They obviously haven’t been competitive since Week 2, but the short week and their defensive line worry me in this one. The ODU game is all about WKU showing last week’s performance wasn’t an exception but the rule for this team moving forward.
I think this game is ODU’s last chance to save their season. The game is a showcase of their program and the blackout could make the atmosphere special if their fans haven’t already given up. I think WKU comes out sluggish, with familiar offensive line struggles rearing their ugly head as sacks lead to a low scoring first half. Luckily for WKU, they’re still facing a low-powered offense led by a 17-year-old quarterback on their second string running back.
I think WKU goes into the half up just 10–7 but Mike White keeps his momentum going through the air and breaks through in the second half finding Kylen Towner and Deon Yelder to lead WKU to a 27–13 victory. The win might not be pretty but a four game winning streak before a showdown with Lane Kiffin should get the fanbase re-engaged before the home stretch.
Jared Rosdeutscher: 4–2
ODU was a team early on that was predicted to be one of the best teams in the C-USA East this season, along with WKU, and both teams have been underwhelming to this point, especially the Monarchs.
The Monarchs have only won two games so far this year while, despite having some offensive issues, WKU is sitting at 4–2 and 2–1 in conference play. The Tops have been able to finally get a lot of bad mojo out of their system against Charlotte and get the offense rolling but can they against ODU?
I’m not sure if you’d call this a trap game, but look for ODU to keep it close at home. I predict that WKU pulls off a close win, 24–22.
Matt McCay: 2–0
This game feels like a slight advantage to WKU, but ODU is an unknown quantity. They’re 2–4, but have played against tough competition. On the same token, WKU is just as much of an unknown. How good are any of the teams WKU has played? It’s going to be an exciting game.
It feels like WKU is most in control of the outcome. The Tops are healthier, boasts a powerful passing game, takes care of the ball and has a much better defense. ODU is dangerous, though. The Monarchs boast 20 sacks on the season and have a better running game.
Ultimately, I feel WKU should win this game, but this is one of those games that could go 10 different directions. I predict WKU wins it because of superiority in the passing game and a more consistent defense, but this game could be a battle.
And for the love of Pete, can we get through the ODU game without a fight?
WKU 33 — ODU 23.