WKU PREVIEW: Two Days and Counting

Hoosier Nation continues it's day-by-day preview of Saturday's match-up between Indiana (1-0) and Western Kentucky (0-2). With the game just two days away, we look at two of the biggest concerns for Coach Bill Lynch's team this weekend in Bowling Green, Ky...

Is an untested Indiana football team ready for this challenge? – When Indiana and Western Kentucky square off Saturday at Houchens Technologies-L.T. Smith Stadium, one of the two teams will be battle tested – and it won't be Indiana.

Indiana coasted to a 51-17 win over Towson, a bad FCS school that provided very little resistance when the Hoosiers' No. 1 offense was on the field. It was hardly a measuring stick for the Hoosiers, who then went on a 16-day break between games heading into this contest.

The Hilltoppers, in contrast, have gone on the road to face top-10 Nebraska and Kentucky, losing those two games by a combined 112-38. Despite the lopsided score Coach Willie Taggart's team has built some confidence in a running game led by Bobby Rainey, who has piled up 339 yards and three touchdowns the opening two weeks. They've developed an identity centered on that ground attack, and Rainey figures to get a healthy dose of work Saturday.

Taggart's team will also be playing at home for the first time this season, hoping to bring an end to a 22-game losing streak that has dated back to 2008.

""I think Western Kentucky is going to be a tough situation for us and we've done this a couple different times," IU Coach Bill Lynch said. "We've done it three times, and each one has been very difficult. When you go on the road into a non-BCS conference school, it's a tough environment because we're the first Big Ten school to go there. They have a renovated stadium and they've been looking forward to Indiana coming down there since this thing got on the schedule."

WKU's mobility at quarterback – There were plenty of good things that came out of the Towson win, most notably the emergence of Ted Bolser at tight end and the play of converted wide receivers Matt Ernest and Mitchell Evans in the secondary. But one of the issues that the match-up presented was Indiana's inability to bottle up a mobile quarterback.

While Indiana's defense picked off Towson quarterback Chris Hart three times and limited him to a 16-of-35, 165-yard outing through the air, Hart managed to run for 123 yards on 16 carries. Indiana's defensive front was unable to wrap him up when he scrambled from the pocket, and at times the secondary was unable to chase him down when he was in the open field.

Now, Indiana has to go up against a mobile quarterback (or two) again. A season ago Hilltopper quarterback Kawaun Jakes ran for 355 yards and five touchdowns, totals that would have been much higher had it not been for the sacks surrendered by the WKU offensive line. He eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark against Troy and proved to be a formidable dual-threat when he was under center. He's only rushed 10 times for two yards to date this season, but it's a good bet that Hart's success on the ground will prompt WKU to utilize Jakes in that role more this weekend.

On top of that, there's a chance – although remote – that 2009 Kentucky Mr. Football Antonio Andrews could get some snaps under center this weekend as well. Andrews threw for 3,365 yards and 50 touchdowns while rushing for another 3,368 yards and 56 touchdowns at Ft. Campbell H.S. Under his leadership Ft. Campbell won back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 while compiling a 29-0 record.

Andrews originally signed with Air Force, but left the academy and instead enrolled at WKU. He was cleared by the NCAA to play in late August, and he's spent the last couple of weeks getting up to speed with WKU's scout team. Taggart said there is a possibility Andrews could play this weekend if he's up to speed with the offense.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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