As BYU (6-0) welcomes the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2-4) to Provo on Halloween, there’s only one thing on the minds of BYU fans everywhere: Boise State. All kidding aside, the Hilltoppers roll into Provo a little down on their luck. Big Red and Co. finished last season with a respectable 9-4 record but have struggled to carry that momentum into 2020.
Reasons for Concern
The strength of this WKU team is the defense. The Hilltoppers returned a majority of starters from a unit that finished top 25 in total defense and scoring defense a year ago. They’ve managed to remain stout this season, especially in the passing game where the Hilltoppers rank 20th nationally at 181 yards allowed per game.
If WKU is going to have any chance in this game, the secondary will need to come up huge. If they can force Zach Wilson to revert to the turnover prone 2019 self, the Hilltoppers can keep this game interesting deep into the second half.
Reasons for Confidence
I don’t even know where to start here. WKU might be the worst team BYU has faced this season. The WKU offense looks like the 2017 BYU offense, ranking 89th and 90th in total offense and scoring offense respectively. They’ve yet to score more than 24 points in a game this season, and only managed 13 points against FCS and “almost Nebraska foe” Chattanooga a week ago. BYU will be by far the best defense the Hilltoppers have faced, and I don’t expect them to move the ball much at all.
Even their passing defense, which has a respectable national ranking, may be fools gold as they have yet to face an offense averaging more than 235 yards per game through the air. Additionally their 69th ranked rush defense gave up a not-so-nice 354 yard outing to Liberty in week 2 and will most likely get run over by every BYU running back from Allgeier to Davis.
Takeaway I’d Like to See
BYU has two goals this weekend: Win and stay healthy. As always, BYU has been bitten by the injury bug quite a bit this season and can’t afford to lose anymore key contributors with the biggest game in a decade looming on the Idaho horizon just 6 days away.
BYU will take care of business. The Cougars just have too much firepower on both sides of the ball and will overwhelm the Hilltoppers from the start. I expect both Zach Wilson and Tyler Allgeier to feast for a half, and for WKU to struggle to move the ball against a stout BYU front. At the end of it all, the hardest fought battle between BYU and WKU in 2020 will remain a mascot poll on Twitter.
BYU 42-3 WKU.