1. North Texas has a new coach, what changes can we expect? Expect some creativity. North Texas interim head coach Mike Canales has done this before. Offensive coordinator for the Mean Green since 2010, Canales served as interim head coach for the final five games of 2010 and made a notable difference. The team averaged 34 points per game during that stretch, two touchdowns higher than it had during the first half of the season. Anticipate a more active offense, including a dual-threat quarterback.
2. What should we expect from former WKU QB Demarcus Smith as the North Texas QB? The product of Louisville Seneca, Smith's travels have been well documented. A former Louisville and UCF commit, Smith spent two seasons in Bowling Green before leaving to play a season on the junior college level. Interim coach Mike Canales is expected to use Smith's ability to create with his arm and legs in an effort to ignite an offense that ranks as one of the nation's least productive.
"He’s a guy that we’re definitely going to have to contain and find a way to force him to feel uncomfortable in the pocket," said WKU head coach Jeff Brohm.
3. I'm starting to believe in the defense. Another strong performance on tap? There's reason to believe. WKU has steadily improved on the defensive side of the ball since the season-opener and should continue that trend against North Texas. WKU currently leads the nation in turnover margin and is among the top ten in red zone defense, both crucial to a successful season. North Texas struggles offensively, ranking No.113 in the country, so WKU should have little problem posting another solid defensive effort.
4. Are the HIlltoppers going bowling? A win at North Texas on Thursday night will secure a fifth consecutive bowl eligible season for Western Kentucky and all but assure WKU of a second consecutive bowl appearance and third since moving to the FBS level. Current projections have the Hilltoppers headed to either the Miami Beach Bowl or the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
5. What does the game mean for the Conference USA race? At 3-0 in league play, WKU is off to the best start in the C-USA this season. Marshall, at 2-0, is the only other member without a loss league loss. The two East Division foes played a classic last season and slated to meet in the regular season finale, they could be destined for a similar ending in 2015. This time, the C-USA East crown could be on the line.