Five questions concerning Western Kentucky at Indiana

A new weekly feature, WKU Insider answers questions submitted by forum members on the upcoming game. Here's the five for the Hilltoppers upcoming road trip to Indiana.

1. What is the injury status of the two teams? An advantage for the Hoosiers here, as WKU will be playing its first contest without senior running back Leon Allen. Allen suffered a season-ending knee injury against Louisiana Tech. Fellow running back Anthony Wales (hamstring) continues rehab. Offensive lineman Matt Nord remains to rehab from his broken foot. Defensive back Wonderful Terry (high ankle sprain) is out indefinitely.

The Toppers to have a few returning from injury. Following a very limited role in the season-opener, Jared Dangerfield saw a larger role in week two and should see his time continue to increase. Linebacker Dejon Brown should also see his role increase against the Hoosiers.

The Hoosiers welcome back Chase Dutra to their secondary. After recording three interceptions last fall, Dutra, a sophomore, missed Indiana's first two games. Sophomore wide receiver Dominique Booth is out this weekend.

2. How will the WKU defensive line fare against a bigger IU offensive front?  The Hoosiers offensive front is a strength. The unit owns 91 career starts and 145 games played among nine player. They've only allowed one sack through two games. The Hilltoppers will need big games from the Jontavius Morris and Bryan Shorter in the middle and use it's speed from the edge. After giving up 223 rushing yards against Louisiana Tech, WKU's defensive front will need to limit the Hoosiers ground attack.

3. What to expect from the IU defense? Indiana is improving defensively, but there is plenty of room to grow. The Hoosiers defense has given up an average of 532 yards through two games, ranking No. 119 in the nation. The young secondary has been suspect, checking in at No. 112 in the nation. Their strength is up front, but opponents are still finding some success on the ground. IU will attempt to pressure WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty to force quick decisions and hold the thin WKU running back depth chart to a minimum.

4. How will the WKU running game do without Allen? Easily the largest concern for head coach Jeff Brohm heading into Saturday's game against Indiana. Allen has been the WKU running game for the past two seasons and his absence, coupled with reserve Anthony Wales also sidelined, the weight of ground game falls on the shoulders D'Andre Ferby and former IU back Anthony Davis.

Ferby, a former Mr. Tennessee, has drawn praise for his work efforts since fall camp opened. Ferby rushed for 39 yards and his first career touchdown on 14 carries against Louisiana Tech, with Davis adding 29 yards on two carries. The pair also combined for 39 yards on four receptions. Both should enjoy success against a struggling IU defensive.

5. Who comes out of the game undefeated? Western Kentucky and Indiana both enter the game with 2-0 records. It's the first time for the Hilltoppers since 2005, while the Hoosiers last started with two straight wins in 2012.

The expectations are higher in Bowling Green then Bloomington this fall and a win over the Hoosiers would further solidify the continuing rise of Hilltopper football. It would be the first 3-0 start for WKU in 12 years and its first as an FBS member. It would give WKU a pair of victories over programs in a Power 5 conference, plus a win over one of the Conference USA favorites. While WKU barely registered in the latest polls, improving to 3-0 would lift the program within reach of the Top 25.

That becomes possible this weekend, as the Hilltoppers offense outlasts the host Hoosiers.

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