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The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers host the Army Black Knights Saturday in a non- conference tilt. Both of these teams come into this game with records of 3-2. The last time these two teams met was in 2014 when the Hilltoppers emerged with a 52-24 win. This should be a good one. Army is a slight favorite playing on the road, but the Hilltoppers are riding a two-game winning streak. The game kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern at Houchens-Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Army falls short versus TulaneArmy, an independent, is coming off a 42-33 loss at home against Tulane. Tulane broke open a tight game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Army was absolutely run over by Tulane, giving up 525 total yards and a ridiculous 324 yards on the ground. You aren't going to win many games giving up over 300 yards on the ground. Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins had a weird game. He gained 132 yards rushing and had 2 touchdowns, but in the air, he was just 9 for 24 for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Camden Harrison caught most of the completions with 5 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.
“They blocked us and kept us blocked,” Army coach Jeff Monken said, reported the Washington Post. “They whipped blocks on defense and made tackles. That’s it. That’s what made the difference. They just out-physicaled us. Our guys played their butts off. They played it all the way to the end. They didn’t quit. Nobody flinched. I love that about our guys.”
Army's offense has been pretty effective, They average 30 points per game, which ranks 65th in the nation. They average 346 total yards per game, which is 109th. That includes just 78 yards per game in the air, which ranks 129th in the country, and 273 ypg on the ground, which is 8th in the country. The Black Knights defense allows just 21 points per game, which ranks 39th. They give up 335 yards per game, which ranks 41st. They give up 186 ypg in the air, which ranks 24th, and 148 ypg on the ground, which is 63rd in the nation.
Hilltoppers dominant against ODUThe Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are riding a two-game winning streak that has seen them improve to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in Conference USA. They are tied atop the East Division of the conference with Florida Atlantic. They handed UAB their first loss two weeks ago and then last weekend they beat Old Dominion 20-3. It was a pretty dominant performance by WKU's excellent defense. They only gave up 160 total yards. Offensively, they got a great game out of quarterback Ty Storey who was 21 for 28 for 193 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Gaej Walker was great, too, rushing for 114 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown.
The Hilltoppers offense has not been great. They average about 21 points per game, which ranks 107th in the nation. They average 313 total yards per game, which is 113th. That includes 234 yards per game in the air, which ranks 76th in the country, and 97 ypg on the ground, which is 126th. The Western Kentucky defense allows just 20 points per game, which ranks 32nd. They give up 302 yards per game, which ranks 24th. They give up 193 ypg in the air, which ranks 32nd, and just 109 ypg on the ground, which is 31st in the nation.
- Hilltoppers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Hilltoppers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on fieldturf.
- Hilltoppers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Hilltoppers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Black Knights are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. CUSA.
- Black Knights are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Hilltoppers getting the points. This is a great game between two excellent defensive teams. Army is pretty much a one trick pony on offense. They run the ball and they run it well. They average 273 yards on the ground, which is 8th in the nation. Western Kentucky is one of the better defenses at stopping the run, allowing just 109 yards per game. I think the Hilltoppers will be able to slow down the Black Knights ground game enough to make them have to throw the ball to win. They only average 72 yards per game in the air, so that's a tall order. I like the home team here to cover in a close game.
Prediction: Western Kentucky +4
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. Again, these are two defensive-minded, ground and pound teams. They play good defense and they run the ball. WKU has a bit more of a well rounded offense, so they can move the ball through the air as well as on the ground. But make no mistake, this will be a ground control game that will be won in the trenches. Expect long, time consuming drives that result in fairly low-scoring game. The under is 11-5-1 in the Black Knights last 17 games following a straight up loss and 4-1 in the Hilltoppers last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. Also, the under is 4-1 in the Hilltoppers last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.