LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bobby Petrino lost his second game as the Western Kentucky football coach – and lost it decisively, 52-20, at Tennessee. That was 2013.

Jeff Brohm took over in 2014 and he lost to Illinois in Game Two and followed it up by losing three of his next four.

Apparently, it’s a trend because Mike Sanford took his first WKU team to Champaign, Ill., Saturday night, and on a night when the Hilltoppers were favored by a touchdown, they were fortunate to score a touchdown.

WKU got only one, in fact, and it did not come until more than three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Make it Illinois 20, WKU 7. Make the Hilltoppers 1-1 this season, with Conference USA play scheduled to begin Saturday when Louisiana Tech visits Bowling Green.

Should WKU fans be alarmed?


Taywan Taylor, Anthony Wales, Forrest Lamp and the Jeff Brohm scheme hung at least 44 points on WKU’s final 10 opponents last season. This team has not scored 44 points in two games.

Illinois looked vulnerable when the Illini wobbled to a 24-21 win over Ball State last week. No wonder the Hilltoppers were favored by as many as 8 points this week, a development that rankled Illinois coach Lovie Smith and his players.

WKU losing to Illinois? Hard to consider that stunning. The Illini are a bottom tier Big Ten program but they’re still a Power Five team.

WKU losing to Illinois while scoring only one touchdown and generating 244 yards of offense? Easy to consider that stunning.

The WKU running game contributed six yards. After throwing 37 touchdown passes last season, White has one in two games this season. Saturday was the first time White failed to throw a TD pass since the Hilltoppers played Alabama last September – and even Smith would not compare his defense to Alabama’s. Toss in an ugly 10-yard interception for a touchdown in the final 81 seconds of the first half and it was 60 minutes of heartburn for White. 

New coach? New scheme? New receivers?

All of that matters. But what matters more is what Mike Sanford and the Hilltoppers do to fix it.

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