WKU Football: Hilltoppers vs. Vanderbilt Game Information and Staff Predictions

LOOK HOW WIDE OPEN HIGBEE WAS. Brandon Doughty finds Tyler Higbee for the game-winning touchdown as the Tops beat Vanderbilt to open the 2015 season.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win nonetheless last week for the Tops, who improve to 2–1 and now have a historic matchup on their hands.

The Vanderbilt Commodores will officially become a trivia answer come 3:30 p.m. CT tomorrow when they become the first SEC team to play a football contest inside Smith Stadium, and they’ll be seeking a bit of revenge after the Tops went into their place last year and stole a 14–12 victory.

However, the Tops are a bit banged up and the offense hasn’t looked great ever since the season-opening rout over Rice. Vandy comes in having dropped two of their first three games.

For those not apart of the #SelloutVandy campaign, the game will be aired on CBS Sports Network. (And, ironicially enough, will be followed by Marshall/Louisville.)

Fletcher (3–0)

I have no clue what to think here. On one hand, we saw the Tops go into Nashville and escape with a victory to open the season. Even with the first-game jitters and a sluggish offense, WKU was able to come out on top.

However, this is a bit of a better Vandy team. They easily took care of MTSU and are talking a big game in pre-game pressers. Western will be without Forrest Lamp and potentially Ace Wales (who logged 0 touches last week against Miami).

Quinton Baker had a nice day in stepping up, and hopefully he can replicate his successes.

When it comes down to it, I have no doubts the Tops, defensively, can hold Vandy to what they need to do. This game is going to come down to what the offense can, or potentially can’t, do against the ‘Dores defense.

Call me an optimist, but I think the Tops eek out a win here. They’ll wind up losing a conference game because of it (instead of losing here and going undefeated in the CUSA slate), but I’m gonna put on my homer hat and take the red towel waivers. Lets say its Big Red win to the tune of 24–20.

Marcus (3–0)

The game last year (to open the year, in Vandy) was a close one. Vandy was the one team that kept WKU in check last season, and this one will be a defensive game also. But WKU, in front of a home stadium packed with fans (hopefully they actually stay past halftime for once) will help give Brohm and Company the momentum late. Tops take the close win like last year, 17–14.

Will (3–0)

Tops return to the Houch after two weeks being on the road. WKU has struggled in the past two games to get any sorts of offense working. The Hilltoppers are without both Ace Wales and DeAndre Ferby, and now they’re without Forrest Lamp, not an ideal thing for a team that is struggling to get the running game going. Vanderbilt posted a cool 47 points on an MTSU team thats picked to finish first in conference, so that also doesnt bold well for WKU. I have stayed tried and true to WKU (outside of Alabama) but this week I’m going to have to cross over to the dark side and predict a 24–10 Commodores victory in front of a nearly sold out Smith Stadium crowd.

Josh (3–0)

There comes a time in every great mid-major program’s history where a game shows whether or not they have truly arrived to be a top program. I believe this is the game for Western Kentucky.

They have a SEC opponent coming to the Houch, and the chance of a sellout remains high. A win here gives a great amount of momentum to a program, and not just for the season.

WKU will surely be hosting a lot of top prospects, and a good showing could lead to more recruiting success. This game will most likely be ugly. Vanderbilt brings a top notch defense, while their offense leaves a lot to be desired. The Hilltoppers will be without starting linemen Forrest Lamp, one of the best in the nation at his position, so I see this game being relatively low scoring. I think the Toppers have more playmakers than Vandy, so I give them the advantage in this game, 21–17.

Regardless of what happens, it should be a historic day for WKU football, and I envy each and every one of you who are going. How do you think the Tops will fare against the Commodores. Does WKU pick up another win against the SEC, or does Vanderbilt extract revenge from last year? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter @TheTowelRackWKU.

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