Western Kentucky vs. FIU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hilltoppers and Golden Panthers on Saturday in Bowling Green, KY.
Western Kentucky vs. FIU Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
TV Broadcast: N/A
Mike White had 307 yards and three touchdowns through the air, Anthony Wales ran for two scores, and the Hilltoppers (6-3, 4-1 Conference USA) racked up 661 total yards in a 52-3 dismantling of Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton last week. White had early scoring connections of 76, 54 and 65 yards to give WKU a 21-0 lead with 13:51 left in the second quarter. Taylor’s scoring grab was the 33rd of his career, which is tied for fifth all time in C-USA history. FAU was held without a third-down conversion until its final possession of the game.
Meanwhile, the Golden Panthers (3-6, 3-2) put up a strong effort last week at home against Middle Tennessee, but Alex McGough tossed a Pick Six to D.J. Sanders with 1:22 left to send the Blue Raiders to a 42-35 victory. FIU fought back from a 21-0 deficit, though, against an upper-tier C-USA squad.
In last year’s meeting between these two teams in Miami, Brandon Doughty threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns, and D’Andre Ferby ran for three scores to help the Hilltoppers to an easy 63-7 win.
What To Know About Western Kentucky
The White-Taylor connection was once again on point last week, as Taylor now has eight touchdowns in his last five games. Meanwhile, Wales now has five multi-touchdown games on the season, so it’s a “pick your poison” type of situation for opposing defenses. Both the pass and run games are clicking for the ‘Toppers, plus Wales is a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield. Defensively, WKU is porous versus the pass, but Florida Atlantic could not do much last week. McGough will need to exploit that ‘Toppers secondary if the Golden Panthers have any chance to stick around in this one.
What to Know About FIU
While the Golden Panthers have cooled off since winning three in a row under interim head coach Ron Cooper, they are still playing much better football than they did at the beginning of the year when they started out of the gate with four straight losses, which cost Ron Turner his job. McGough has proven that he can effectively move the ball through the air in spurts, but the dual-threat signal-caller has tossed 11 interceptions and needs to be more efficient. His accuracy and consistency can create some issues for this unit, but at least there’s a threat through the air that was missing early in the year. Meanwhile, Alex Gardner and Anthony Jones have had some nice rushing efforts this season, but they have too often been inconsistent. So we still don’t know how effective the offense is going to be week in and week out.
Offense: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are averaging 506.2 yards per game.
Defense: Even. Both units are very generous. The Hilltoppers are much worse against the pass, while the Golden Panthers are much worse against the run.
Special Teams: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers have one of the better special teams efficiency ratings in the country.
Coaching: Western Kentucky. Jeff Brohm is a future Power Five head coach.
Intangibles: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers know that they cannot afford any slip-up as they battle for a C-USA division crown.
Matchup To Watch
McGough vs. Western Kentucky secondary
Last week against FAU, the Hilltoppers held Jason Driskel to 10-of-24 passing for 52 yards and an interception. Daniel Parr didn’t fare much better, recording just 25 yards through the air. WKU’s weakness, though, has been its pass defense. FAU just couldn’t exploit it. McGough has thrown for at least 281 yards in each of his last three games, but he’s also thrown four picks over that span. He must play a clean game and be turnover-free if FIU wants any chance at an upset.
Spread: Western Kentucky -25
Western Kentucky vs. FIU Prediction
This is a Hilltoppers team that is too talented and too cohesive for FIU to contend with for four quarters. Brohm keeps his team in the thick of the C-USA race with an easy win.
Western Kentucky vs. FIU Score Prediction: Western Kentucky 45, FIU 24