Western Kentucky's winning streak has come to an end. Following seven consecutive victories, including the program's first-ever FBS bowl victory, the Hilltoppers fell in a thriller at Indiana 38-35 on Saturday afternoon to drop to 2-1 on the season.
After the game's first 30 minutes of action, the Hilltoppers had reason to be confident that they may remain undefeated. Leading 28-17 at the half, WKU saw its lead disappear quickly in the third quarter. A pair of interceptions by the Hoosier defense on back-to-back possessions sparked a 21 point third quarter.
"We don't have that margin for error," said WKU head coach Jeff Brohm. "We can't do that. We won our first two games by small margins and really did everything right."
It wasn't just offensive miscues that hurt the Hilltoppers. The defense was unable to slow the Hoosier running attack for the entire second frame. Indiana ran for 182 yards on 35 carries in the second half alone.
The Hilltoppers have a week to recover from the loss. Miami of Ohio visits Bowling Green next Saturday, and then WKU begins a stretch of three consecutive Conference USA contests before traveling to LSU on October 24.
"I like the makeup of our team," said Brohm. "I think we've got competitive guys that love playing the game of football. We preach that it is always a one game season and unfortunately we came up short. I think our guys understand for us and our schedule that there isn't much margin for error. We have to find ways to get better on both sides of the ball. No game is an easy one for us and next week will be an extremely tough as well."
There were plenty of positives to take from the team's first loss of the season and Brohm expects that they'll report for practice with the proper mental approach to begin another WKU winning streak.
"Our guys got to work hard and understand that there can't be any let-up and stay hungry," he said. "I think we will and that's important."