Western Kentucky: A Numerical Perspective

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated Navy last season, when Keenan Reynolds got knocked out of the game in the first half. Reynolds and the rest of the Midshipmen, coming off a wrenching loss to Rutgers, should not need any outside motivation when Western Kentucky pays a visit to Annapolis this weekend. It's time for Navy to right the ship; let's look at the Hilltoppers to set up the contest.


THE WESTERN KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS: A NUMERICAL PERSPECTIVE

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers ripped through Bowling Green at the start of their 2014 season, but then regressed in a loss to Illinois before narrowly falling to Middle Tennessee in a wild overtime shootout. The early read on the Hilltoppers through their first three games is that they’re all offense and no defense. Where did this team come from, though? Get a fuller look at the 2013 team and compare with WKU’s early results in the new season.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that last season, under former head coach Bobby Petrino, WKU played the same kind of game through most of the season. It had more first downs than its opponent 10 times. The Hilltoppers had more yards and more passing yards than an opponent in 10 FBS games. Western Kentucky had more time of possession than an opponent in nine of its FBS games. How will these trends change under current coach Jeff Brohm?

SITUATIONAL WIN-LOSS RECORDS IN 2013 (FBS ONLY)

Record when having more first downs than an opponent: 6-4.

Fewer: 1-0.

Record when having more yards than an opponent: 6-4.

Fewer: 1-0.

Record when having more rushing yards than an opponent: 4-2.

Fewer: 2-2.

Statistical tie (zero differential): 1-0.

Record when having more passing yards than an opponent: 6-4.

Fewer: 1-0.

Record when having more penalties than an opponent: 2-2.

Fewer: 5-2.

Record when having more turnovers than an opponent: 2-4.

Fewer: 2-0.

Statistical tie: 3-0.

Record when having more time of possession than an opponent: 5-4.

Less time of possession: 2-0.

BALL SECURITY AND FUMBLE LUCK.

Fumbles in 2013: 26.

Fumbles lost: 15.

Interceptions thrown: 16.

TAKEAWAYS ON DEFENSE

Defensive fumbles recovered: 7 recoveries of 17 fumbles by opponents.

Interceptions made: 14.

Here's an important closing note to make about Western Kentucky in 2014: The Hilltoppers, after doing simple math, committed 31 turnovers last season. Through three games this season, they've committed only four turnovers. WKU's fumble luck has been good, though: The Hilltoppers have recovered five of their seven offensive fumbles. WKU is on pace to cut its 2013 turnover total roughly in half, from 31 to 16. Can Navy change that statistic in a meaningful way on Saturday?

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