LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Western Kentucky begins a season full of expectations Thursday when they travel to Nashville for an 8:00 pm meeting with Vanderbilt, the Hilltoppers first of two meetings with Southeastern Conference schools. They travel to LSU in late October.
Western ended the 2014 season with a five-game win streak, including two of the more exciting games played anywhere last season; a 67-66 win at nationally ranked Marshall to end the regular season and a 49-48 win over Central Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. WKU's offense set or tied 49 school and conference records. Nineteen starters return from that 8-5 team, including quarterback Brandon Doughty, back for a sixth season thanks to a couple of medical redshirts. Doughty leads all returning signal-callers in the FBS with 7800 yards and 63 touchdowns passing.
While Vanderbilt is coming off a 3-9 season, second-year Toppers head coach Jeff Brohm knows this game is big for national perceptions.
"These are the type of games that we need to try compete and try to win in that will raise the level of play for us and raise the level of everyone noticing what WKU is all about," said Brohm. "So these are the games that you have to perform well in. It's the first game of the year. It's a big game because it's our next game, but they're going to have some strength, some size. I tell our team every week that they're going to think that they're going to basically out physical us, ware us down and win in the fourth quarter, and I'm sure that's what their goal is going to be and they may have a little bit to what they're saying. But our guys have worked hard to improve where we needed to get better at. I feel good where we're at this point and now we have to go out and play well and execute."
"Being an SEC opponent, you have to expect that they're going to be really talented, really fast and they're going to look the part and on film they do," said Doughty. "We're really confident going into the game, but we also know that we have to execute. We have to do our game plan and really hone in on things for sure."
John Lewis and Eric Crawford will be in Nashville Thursday and have reports for us on WDRB and WDRB.com.
Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.