Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hilltoppers and Monarchs on Saturday in Bowling Green, KY.
Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
The Hilltoppers (4-3, 2-1 Conference USA) are coming off of a wild 44-43 double-overtime victory over Middle Tennessee in a game that was won on a Deon Yelder blocked extra point. Anthony Wales ran for three touchdowns in the road victory, including the final score that came after the block. Skyler Simcox made the PAT for WKU to end it.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs (4-2, 2-0) are coming off of a bye week. The last time we saw Bobby Wilder’s squad, Jeremy Cox ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-16 victory over UMass in a game that was moved up to Friday from Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew. Ray Lawry added 88 yards and the 30th touchdown of his career to tie Thomas DeMarco for the school’s career record for rushing touchdowns. Quarterback David Washington was 20-of-35 passing for 248 yards in the victory.
In last year’s meeting in Norfolk, Wales rushed for a career-high four touchdowns and Brandon Doughty threw for three scores to lead the Hilltoppers to a 55-30 win. Wales finished with 185 rushing yards, while Monarchs quarterback Shuler Bentley threw three scoring tosses.
What To Know About Western Kentucky
In the wild win over the Blue Raiders, Wales ran for 158 yards and Mike White threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Wales has rushed for 582 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, and he is also a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield. Quinton Baker has also chipped in to spell Wales, so it’s a rushing attack that complements White and the passing game very well. Since the Vanderbilt game on Sept. 24, White has tossed just one interception.
What to Know About Old Dominion
The Monarchs are getting great production from the rushing duo of Cox and Lawry, who have totaled 12 touchdowns on the ground and are averaging over 6.0 yards per carry. Washington has only tossed two interceptions, though he is completing just 56.4 percent of his throws. Still, this is an ODU squad that I have projected to go to the Boca Raton Bowl, which would be a nice reward and the school’s first since moving to C-USA.
Offense: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers rank No. 33 in the country in total offense at 467.3 yards per contest.
Defense: Old Dominion. The Monarchs are No. 57 in the country in scoring defense in 25.5 points per game.
Special Teams: Western Kentucky kickers Skyler Simcox and Ryan Nuss have combined to miss five field goals already this year, including two kicks under 40 yards. Meanwhile, Brad Davis was perfect on three field goal attempts in the Monarchs’ win over UMass.
Coaching: Western Kentucky. Jeff Brohm is one of the hotter coaching candidates in the Group of Five.
Intangibles: Even. WKU is coming off of an emotional win, while ODU has to feel good about sitting at 2-0 in league play.
Matchup To Watch
Wales vs. ODU defensive front
The star Hilltoppers running back will be going up against a Monarchs rush defense that ranks No. 68 in the country, allowing 159.3 yards per contest. Wales has nearly 600 rushing yards and is averaging almost 6.0 yards per carry. Against the Minutemen the last time out, Old Dominion gave up 5.0 yards per rush to their group of backs, so Wales should find room to do damage and keep the ODU defense honest. Keep in mind that Wales found the end zone four times and nearly had 200 yards last year against ODU.
Spread: Western Kentucky -12.5
Over/Under: No over/under as of post
Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion Prediction
This is a Monarchs team that has made strides since moving into C-USA. But the Hilltoppers have a very good offense, and ODU cannot win a shootout. The Monarchs have offensive balance, so they will be able to control the tempo. However, the WKU offense will eventually wear down the ODU defense over four quarters and deliver the Monarchs their first league loss of the year.
Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion Score Prediction: Western Kentucky 34, Old Dominion 27