WKU football is notching a number of FBS firsts for the program this fall. The team's nine wins, a perfect 7-0 mark in league play and 10 consecutive wins against conference foes are all setting new standards for the Hilltoppers program, but with one final game left in the regular season, there remains unfinished business.
Western Kentucky welcomes Marshall (9-2, 6-1) to Houchens-Smith Stadium on Friday for a game that will determine the Conference USA East Division title and the opportunity to host the league championship game.
"This is what it’s all about," said WKU head coach Jeff Brohm. "We have a chance to play for the East Division title against the defending champ who is traditionally right there at the very top."
Marshall, the defending C-USA Champion, lost to the Hilltoppers in Huntington, W.V., last November in a 67-66 overtime thriller that saw WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty toss a league record eight touchdowns. The loss was the lone defeat for the Thundering Herd in 2014.
“Without question, this is the game we’ve been shooting for. It’s a championship game to us," said Brohm. "We’ve tried going to that playoff mentality where you have to win to advance. Really, this is somewhat of the culmination of it all in the regular season. To get these guys on our home turf, we’re excited about. We’re excited about getting them in our stadium. We’re hopeful that anything we can do to find an edge will help us win the game.”
While the Hilltoppers, who are winning by an average of 51-23 in C-USA contests, opened as a 10 point favorite in the regular season finale, Brohm realizes that his team will need to utilize every advantage to overcome a motivated and talented Marshall team. He hopes that a vocal crowd will provide an edge for his team.
“We love playing at home, and we have a great fan base. Yes, we want everyone to come out and enjoy a great, tough, good football match-up with a lot riding on it. It’s a holiday weekend, and I know some families will be together, but we’d love to see everybody out there, into the game rooting us on. When you have a great crowd and they are into it, you’re going to have an edge. That’s what we’re hopeful for this Friday, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Kickoff is scheduled 11:00 a.m. (CDT) and the game has been designated as a Black Out.