Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky 2020-11-21 13:32:02 –
WKU HILLTOPPERS (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) vs. FIU PANTHERS (0-4, 0-2 C-USA)
Saturday, November 21 | 1 p.m. CT | Houchens-Smith Stadium | Bowling Green, Ky.
NOTING THE GAME – WKU vs. FIU
- WKU and FIU have played 13 times on the football field since the programs’ first meeting in 2002; a 56-7 victory by the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green.
- In Conference USA competition, WKU claimed back-to-back victories in 2015 (63-7 in Miami) and 2016 (49-21 in Bowling Green), and then the Panthers rattled off back-to-back series wins of their own in 2017 (41-17 in Miami) and 2018 (38-17 in Bowling Green). The Hilltoppers got back on a winning track in the head-to-head series with a 20-14 victory last season at FIU.
NUMBERS TO WATCH
- 212 — Pass attempts this season by QB Tyrrell Pigrome without an interception. That’s the 2nd-longest current streak in the FBS and the longest such streak in WKU history.
- 145 — Career starts by WKU’s starting five offensive linemen (Cole Spencer, Tyler Witt, Seth Joest, Jordan Meredith and Mason Brooks) which ranks 4th in the FBS.
- 44 — Pass breakups by the WKU defense this season, which ranks 2nd in the FBS. Dionté Ruffin leads the Hilltoppers with 8, while Dominnique Bradshaw ranks 2nd with 7.
SENIOR DAY FOR THE HILLTOPPERS
- WKU has won 9 consecutive Senior Games; having not lost a home finale since 2010. The Hilltoppers have scored at least 31 points in 8 of those 9 games.
SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATING THROUGH 2020
- The Hilltoppers have played a game in 8 consecutive weeks, and are only 1-of-5 FBS teams to have a current streak of that length or better:
- Texas State – 10 straight weeks
- Boston College – 9 straight weeks
- WKU – 8 straight weeks
- SMU – 8 straight weeks
- Virginia Tech – 8 straight weeks
MALONE, KEY SET WKU FBS ERA RECORDS vs. USM
- With 2 sacks, DE DeAngelo Malone pushed his career total to 25, which set the record for most by a Hilltopper in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009), surpassing Quanterus Smith’s 24 career sacks from 2009-12.
- Malone’s 25 career sacks rank No. 2 among active FBS defenders (Quincy Roche of Miami (FL) has 28.5). He would need 5.5 more sacks for 30.5 in his career, which would put him at most all-time in WKU’s 102-season history.
- Meanwhile, Malone’s 42.5 career TFL’s rank second in that same time frame, only slightly behind Andrew Jackson’s 43 career TFL’s from 2010-13.
- With 6 tackles, SAF Devon Key pushed his career total to 329, which set the reord for most by a Hilltopper in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009), surpassing Andrew Jackson’s 326 career tackles from 2010-13.
- A four-year starter on The Hill, Key ranks No. 4 among active FBS defenders with 329 tackles. He also ranks No. 3 among active FBS defensive backs with 40 consecutive starts in the secondary (SAF Tariq Thompson of San Diego State has 43 and CB Rodarius Williams of Oklahoma State has 45).
DIONTÉ RUFFIN MAKES A STATEMENT IN PROVO
- Against No. 10/11 BYU on Halloween, the Kenner, La., native stepped up to the challenge of facing a Heisman hopeful and one of the best wide receiving corps in the country.
- Ruffin recorded his first career interception, breaking BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s all-time program-record streak of 184 consecutive passes without an interception. Ruffin returned the interception for 28 yards, deep into the red zone leading to a touchdown on the following play for the first points scored on BYU off a turnover this season.
- He played all 69 defensive snaps against the Cougars and allowed only one reception for six yards on seven targets against him, lining up against the likes of star wide receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney.
GAME 9 vs. SOUTHERN MISS GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior defensive tackle Jalen Madden.
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers are 6-3 this season in coin tosses and have won four consecutive calls.
- There was an attendance of 3,815 in Houchens-Smith Stadium for the 2:37 p.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 3:03, which was the third WKU game (at Louisville and at Middle Tennessee) of that exact length.
- WKU improved to 4-0 all-time against Southern Miss, including a 3-0 record in Houchens-Smith Stadium. The Hilltoppers held the Golden Eagles to only 17 total points in back-to-back wins over the past two seasons. In addition, WKU improved to 8-5 all-time in games played on Nov. 14.
- WKU did not commit a turnover for the second consecutive game, and improved to 1-2 in such games this season.
- WKU committed only 3 penalties for 25 yards, lowering the Hilltoppers’ season average to 4.1 (8th in the FBS) penalties for 36.9 yards (10th) per game this season.
- WKU recorded 3 pass breakups, pushing their season total to 44, which ranks second in the FBS this season. The Hilltoppers’ 48 passes defended (44 pass breakups plus 4 interceptions) also ranks second.
- WKU recorded 6 sacks, only the second time since 2013 the Hilltoppers have reached that mark (7 at Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 17, 2016. It was the first time WKU had 6 sacks at Houchens-Smith Stadium in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009).
- WKU held Southern Miss to only 67 pass yards, the third-fewest by the Hilltoppers in the Clayton White Era (since 2017). Over the past four seasons, WKU has held its opponents to double-digit pass yards in 8-of-47 games. The Hilltoppers pass defense, allowing only 167.2 yards per game thru the air, ranks sixth in the FBS this season.
- WKU had a 34:42-to-25:18 advantage in time of possession over Southern Miss; the team’s best mark of the season. Over the past three games, the Hilltoppers have averaged a time of possession of 33:52. WKU averaged a time of possession of only 27:35 thru the first six games.
- WKU improved to 9-3 while wearing red jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013.
GAME 8 at FLORIDA ATLANTIC GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior offensive guard Jordan Meredith.
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers are 5-3 this season in coin tosses and have won three consecutive calls.
- There was an attendance of 5,292 in FAU Stadium for the 6:35 p.m. ET kick off. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 6:06 p.m. ET, but was delayed due to lightning. It lasted 2:53, which was WKU’s second-shortest of the season. The only game in 2020 the Hilltoppers have played that is shorter was vs. Chattanooga on Oct. 24, which ran 2:51.
- WKU fell to 3-9 all-time against Florida Atlantic, including four consecutive losses. The Hilltoppers also fell to 6-7-1 all-time in games played on Nov. 7.
- WKU allowed only 10 points and lost for the first time since a 10-7 loss to Southern Illinois on Oct. 22, 1994. With only 16 total points scored in the game, it was the lowest-scoring Hilltopper game since a 9-6 win over Missouri State on Oct. 11, 2003.
- WKU did not commit a turnover for the second time this season, but fell to 0-2 in such games. The other such game was the Hilltoppers’ 30-24 loss vs. Liberty on Sept. 19.
- WKU recorded 6 pass breakups, pushing their season total to 41, which leads the FBS this season.
- WKU had a 33:49-to-26:11 advantage in time of possession over Florida Atlantic. Last week at #10/11 BYU, the Hilltoppers had a 33:04-to-26:56 advantage in time of possession.
- WKU fell to 5-6 while wearing white jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013. The Hilltoppers are 1-2 in such games this season.
- Kyle Bailey recorded 6 tackles (2 solo, 4 assisted) with 1 sack and 1 interception, which he returned for 24 yards. The sack was his second of the season while the interception was his first, pushing his career totals to 2.5 sacks and 5 interceptions.
- DeAngelo Malone ranked second on WKU with 11 tackles (5 solo, 6 assisted) for the fourth double-digit game of his career. He recorded 2 sacks for 14 yards lost for the fifth multi-sack game of his career; WKU was previously 4-0 in such games. He had 3 quarterback hurries for the sixth multi-QBH game of his career; WKU was previously 4-1 in such games. One of those hurries led directly to WKU’s interception.
GAME 7 at #10/11 BYU GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was senior defenive end DeAngelo Malone.
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers are 4-3 this season in coin tosses.
- There was an attendance of 6,843 in LaVell Edwards Stadium for the 8:20 p.m. MT kick off. The game lasted 3:18, which was WKU’s second-longest of the season. The only game in 2020 the Hilltoppers have played that is longer was at UAB on Oct. 17, which ran 3:25.
- WKU fell to 1-11 against ranked opponents dating back to 2007, when the program began to transition from the FCS to the FBS. The Hilltoppers also fell to 8-5 all-time in games played on Oct. 31, including 1-4 in the past five such games.
- WKU fell to 20-6 against non-conference, non-Power Five teams (other Group of Five teams and FCS opponents) dating back to 2012. The Hilltoppers had been 4-0 in such games on the road.
- WKU was outscored 35-3 in the first half, but outscored BYU 7-6 in the second half. In the first halves of games this season, the Hilltoppers are being outscored 149-to-47. In the second halves of games this season, the Hilltoppers have a 69-to-59 advantage.
- Despite entering the game averaging only three penalties for 27 yards per game, WKU committed 10 penalties for 96 yards at BYU. In 2019, the Hilltoppers’ most-penalized game was seven penalties for 71 yards vs. UAB on Sept. 28.
- WKU held BYU to 41 points, their second-lowest total of 2020 (27 vs. UTSA on Oct. 10). BYU’s 410 total yards were their fewest of 2020 (470 vs. UTSA). Defensively, BYU’s three tackles for loss were their fewest of 2020 (five vs. Texas State on Oct. 24).
- WKU 156 rush yards were the most allowed by BYU this season (128 at Houston on Oct. 17). The Hilltoppers also had a 33:04-to-26:56 advantage in time of possession, despite BYU averaging a 33:23-to-26:37 advantage and WKU averaging a 27:36-to-32:24 deficit coming into the game.
- WKU lost one fumble, pushing the team’s season total to 10 in seven games. In 2019, the Hilltoppers lost only nine fumbles the entire season in 13 games.
- WKU fell to 8-3 while wearing red jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013.
GAME 6 vs. CHATTANOOGA GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt junior offensive tackle Cole Spencer
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers are 3-3 this season in coin tosses.
- There was an attendance of 3,905 in Houchens-Smith Stadium for the 3:05 p.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 2:51, which was WKU’s shortest of the season. The only game in 2019 the Hilltoppers played that was shorter was vs. Army on Oct. 12, which ran 2:48.
- WKU improved to 6-8 all-time against Chattanooga, including 3-4 in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers won their third consecutive game against the Mocs for the first time in series history. WKU also improved to 7-6 all-time in games played on Oct. 24.
- WKU improved 20-5 against non-conference, non-Power Five teams (other Group of Five teams and FCS opponents) dating back to 2012, including a 12-3 mark at home. The Hilltoppers avoided losing to an FCS team at home for the third straight season (vs. Maine in 2018 and vs. Central Arkansas in 2019).
- WKU won a game while scoring 13 or fewer points for the first time since a 10-9 victory vs. FIU on Nov. 6, 2011.
- WKU allowed only 225 yards of total offense, their lowest total of the season. Since allowing 487 yards in each of the first two games at Louisville and vs. Liberty, the Hilltoppers are allowing an average of only 311.5 yards per game over the past four, which would rank No. 20 in the FBS for the entire season.
- WKU went 3-for-12 on third down tries, but 3-for-4 on fourth down tries. For the season, the Hilltoppers are 20-for-75 (27%) on third downs and 13-for-18 (72%) on fourth downs.
- WKU lost two fumbles, pushing their season total to nine in six games. In 2019, the Hilltoppers lost only nine fumbles the entire season in 13 games.
- WKU allowed only one pass play of 20-plus yards – a 25-yard completion in the fourth quarter. After not allowing any such receptions at UAB the previous week, the Hilltoppers have allowed only one “chunk” pass play over the past two games. In those two contests, the opponents are 24-of-52 on pass attempts for 231 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
GAME 5 at UAB GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was senior safety Antwon Kincade.
- UAB won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. It was the first time in a Hilltopper game this season that the home team has won a coin toss.
- There was an attendance of 11,098 at Legion Field for the 12:36 p.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 3:25, which was WKU’s longest of the season. The only game in 2019 the Hilltoppers played that lasted longer was the First Responder Bowl, which ran 3:35.
- WKU fell to 4-4 all-time against UAB, including 1-3 in Birmingham. The Hilltoppers also dropped to 7-5-1 all-time in games played on Oct. 17.
- WKU went 1-for-12 on third down tries, but 4-for-5 on fourth down tries. For the season, the Hilltoppers are 17-for-63 (27%) on third downs and 10-for-14 (71.4%) on fourth downs.
- WKU was 2-for-2 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, improving to 9-for-10 on the season.
- WKU turned the ball over four times, which led to 17 points off turnovers for UAB. In their previous game, the Hilltoppers had three turnovers that led to 21 points for Marshall.
- WKU fell to 13-8 while wearing white jersey tops and red pants, dating back to 2013.
- Kevaris Thomas started his first career game, completing 16-of-35 attempts for 162 pass yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The two picks were the first thrown by a Hilltopper quarterback this season. He carried 13 times for 1 yard (31 gain, 30 lost). Had a long rush of 12 yards, but was sacked 5 times.
- Joshua Simon led WKU with season-highs of 6 receptions for 81 yards and 1 touchdown. All of which came in the first half.
- John Haggerty tied a career high with 6 punts, which added up to 260 yards (43.3-yard average). He had punts of 63 and 68 yards, both of which went for touchbacks. The 68-yarder was a career-long, eclipsing his previous career-long of 64 yards on Nov. 23, 2019 at Southern Miss.
- Trae Meadows was responsible for both of WKU’s turnovers on defense, with a forced fumble in the first quarter and an interception in the fourth quarter. The interception was his second as a Hilltopper, with the other one coming last season on Sept. 28 vs. UAB. The forced fumble was the first of his career.
GAME 4 vs. MARSHALL GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was graduate senior quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.
- Marshall won the coin toss, chose to receive and scored a touchdown on a two-play, 75-yard drive to open the game. The away team has won all four coin tosses so far this season.
- There was an attendance of 4,428 in Houchens-Smith Stadium for the 6:36 p.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 2:57, which was WKU’s shortest of the season. In 2019, the Hilltoppers played 3-of-14 games in under 3:00.
- WKU lost to Marshall for the fourth-straight time and fell to 4-8 all-time against the Thundering Herd, including 2-3 in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers dropped to 7-5-1 all-time in games played on Oct. 10.
- WKU fell to 55-31-3 all-time in homecoming games.
- WKU committed zero penalties, the first time the team has done so since at least 2007. It was the first time an FBS team did not commit a penalty so far in 2020. There were only eight such instances in 2019.
- WKU turned the ball over three times, which led to 21 points off turnovers for Marshall. The -21 points off turnovers margin was the worst for the Hilltoppers since Nov. 24, 2017 at FIU.
- WKU fell to 8-4 while wearing red jersey tops and white pants, dating back to 2013. The Hilltoppers are 2-3 in their past five games in that uniform combination.
- Kevaris Thomas came into the game in the third quarter and completed 9-of-18 attempts for 148 pass yards, with 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. The touchdown – a 26-yarder to Dalvin Smith with 0:06 remaining in the game – was his first collegiate passing score.
- He carried 7 times for 30 yards and one touchdown, including WKU’s game-long 13-yard rush in the fourth quarter. He completed a 51-yard pass to Xavier Lane in the third quarter, the longest play by the Hilltoppers this season. Scored a two-yard touchdown rush two plays later, the second rushing score of his WKU career.
- Dayton Wade led WKU with a career-high 8 receptions, while also adding 58 yards to rank second on the team.
- Xavier Lane had a team-high 74 yards on 4 receptions, including a career-long 51-yarder in the third quarter.
GAME 3 at MIDDLE TENNESSEE GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior defensive tackle Jeremy Darvin.
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers have won 2-of-3 coin tosses this season.
- There was an attendance of 6,500 in Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium for the 4:05 p.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 3:03, which matched WKU’s first game of the season at Louisville.
- WKU improved to 34-35-1 all-time against Middle Tennessee, including 14-20-1 in Murfreesboro. The Hilltoppers also improved to 8-5-1 all-time in games played on Oct. 3 – including four straight wins.
- With 37 combined points, it was the lowest-scoring game in the head-to-head series since a 21-10 win by Middle Tennessee in 2008.
- With a three-point margin of victory, eight of the past 10 head-to-head matchups have been decided by five points or fewer.
- Middle Tennessee fell to 54-25-2 all-time in homecoming games.
- WKU won the time of possession battle 31:35-to-28:25 over Middle Tennessee. It was the first time this season the Hilltoppers had an advantage in time of possession.
- WKU allowed only 319 total yards to Middle Tennessee, the lowest total for the defense this season.
- WKU gained 326 yards of offense – including 138 rush yards and 188 pass yards – all three are the highest totals for the Hilltoppers this season.
- WKU improved to 9-3 when following a bye week dating back to 2012. The Hilltoppers have held their opponent to 17 points or fewer in seven of the last eight such games – all wins.
- WKU improved to 5-5 while wearing white jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013. The Hilltoppers are 4-1 in such games over the past two seasons.
- Xavier Lane led WKU with 7 catches, 73 yards and 1 touchdown, including a career-long catch of 26 yards in the second quarter. The 7 receptions were a career-high, and the touchdown was his first career score at WKU.
- Brayden Narveson went 2-for-2 in field goal attempts, hitting from 47 and 53 yards. The 53-yarder is the third-longest in WKU’s 102-season program history, and is tied for the fifth-longest field goal make in FBS this season.
GAME 2 vs. LIBERTY GAME NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior punter John Haggerty.
- Liberty won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers had won three consecutive coin tosses dating back to last season.
- There was an attendance of 4,276 in Houchens-Smith Stadium for the 11:02 a.m. CT kick off. The game lasted 3:14, which was above WKU’s first game time of 3:03 at Louisville.
- WKU fell to 0-3 all-time against Liberty, including 0-2 in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers also fell to 6-7 all-time in games played on Sept. 19.
- WKU was out-scored 10-0 in the first quarter, while out-scoring Liberty 24-20 in the other three quarters combined.
- Liberty won the time of possession battle 34:59-to-25:01 over WKU, a week after Louisville won the time of possession battle 32:33-to-27:27 over the Hilltoppers. Last season, WKU averaged a 32-to-28 time of possession advantage in 13 games.
- Liberty rushed for 354 yards, marking only the sixth time WKU has given up over 350 rush yards in the team’s FBS Era (since 2009). Most recently the Hilltoppers allowed 368 rush yards in a 42-28 loss vs. Florida Atlantic on Oct. 28, 2017.
- WKU committed only 2 penalties for 19 yards, compared to Liberty’s 8 for 89 yards. Through two games, the Hilltoppers have only committed 6 penalties for 42 yards. Last season, WKU ranked 11th in FBS with only 39.5 penalty yards per game on 4.1 infractions.
- WKU’s loss to Liberty was only the team’s fifth to a non-conference, non-Power Five team dating back to 2012. The Hilltoppers are 19-5 in such games over the past eight-plus seasons, but 5-4 since 2017.
- WKU fell to 7-4 while wearing red jersey tops and red pants, dating back to 2013. Since 2016, the Hilltoppers are 2-3 in such games.
- Devon Key led WKU with a career-high 15 tackles (7 solo, 8 assisted) for his 8th-career double-digit tackle game. He forced a fumble of Liberty QB Malik Willis in the second quarter that was not recovered by WKU, his first collegiate forced fumble.
- Dionté Ruffin led WKU with 3 pass breakups, which tied a career-high from last season in a 20-13 win vs. UAB on Sept. 28.
GAME 1 at LOUISVILLE NOTES
- WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior safety Devon Key.
- WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers have won three consecutive coin tosses dating back to last season.
- There was an attendance of 11,179 in Cardinal Stadium for the 8:05 p.m. ET kick off. The game lasted 3:03, which was slightly below WKU’s average game time of 3:08 last season.
- In the 102nd season of WKU Football, the Hilltoppers fell to 60-36-6 all-time in season-opening games. WKU also fell to 1-4 all-time in games played on Sept. 12.
- WKU fell to 12-22 all-time against Louisville, including 12 consecutive matchups dating back to the Hilltoppers’ last win in the series in 1975. That total includes a 4-19 record on games played in Louisville.
- WKU was out-scored 21-0 in the second quarter, while out-scoring Louisville 21-14 in the other three quarters combined. It was a similar story in last season’s matchup between the two teams, as WKU was out-scored 24-7 in the second quarter, while tying Louisville 14-14 in the other three quarters combined.
- WKU allowed only 7 points in the second half, continuing the team’s trend from last season. Over the final 12 games of 2019, the Hilltoppers allowed an average of only 6.9 points in the second half.
- Louisville converted 9-of-16 (56%) of third downs against WKU. Last season, the Hilltopper defense ranked 7th in FBS by allowing a third-down conversion rate of only 30%.
- Louisville won the time of possession battle 32:33-to-27:27 over WKU, which included a 18:55-to-11:05 advantage in the first half.
- WKU recorded 10 tackles for loss as a team, which was more than the Hilltoppers had in any game last season. In all, nine different WKU defenders had at least 0.5 tackles for loss.
- WKU fell to 4-5 while wearing white jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013. The Hilltoppers had won three consecutive games in the combination at the tail end of the 2019 season.
- Omari Alexander had a Swiss Army Knife-type performance, with a fumble recovery on a muffed punt, a blocked punt, an interception, a tackle for loss and 5 total tackles (3 solo, 2 assisted).
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