A notebook of Western Kentucky football items as the Toppers prepare for the Miami Beach Bowl

WKU Insider has a notebook of Western Kentucky University football items as the Toppers prepare for the Miami Beach Bowl. The Toppers will play South Florida on Monday afternoon at Marlins Park.

Toppers continue to prepare for bowl

Western Kentucky University went through the fourth pre-bowl practice on Tuesday, less than a week before the Miami Beach Bowl. The Toppers will leave for Miami on Thursday and plays South Florida on Monday afternoon.

WKU head coach Jeff Brohm said his team has "to get ready to play."

"We've got to work hard to get ready," Brohm said. "We've got an important game against a very good , talented football team that's fast and will present us some problems. We have to be ready."

The Toppers had Sunday off and will practice each day before leaving for Miami.

Higbee accepts Senior Bowl invite

Western Kentucky senior tight end Tyler Higbee has accepted an invitation to the Reese's Senior Bowl, which is for the top seniors in the country and will be played on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala.

Higbee is just the third player in WKU history - Jack Doyle in 2013 and Antonio Andrews in 2014 - to be selected into the game.

A native of Clearwater, Fla., Higbee is tied for the most touchdowns b y an FBS tight end with eight and has 48 catches for 563 yards despite missing several games with an injury.

Two in East-West Shrine Game

For a third straight season, WKU will have two players play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Quarterback Brandon Doughty and wide receiver Jared Dangerfield have accepted invitations.

The duo will follow Cameron Clemmons and Cam Thomas from last season and Xavius Boyd and Andrew Jackson in 2014 as the Hilltopper participants. Bobby Rainey (2012) was the other representative from WKU to play in the game.

Game set for ESPN

It will be another nationally-televised game for WKU.

Brohm said the exposure on the television will not only help the program now but the future in recruiting, noting it "gets our name out there with some of the prospects" the Toppers are after.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with a 1:30 p.m. CT kick. Dave LaMont and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will call the game from the booth while Quint Kessenich will report from the field.

WKU defense has another test

Western Kentucky's defense has been tested a number of times this season with anither on the way. South Florida enters the bowl game ranked No. 11 in FBS in rushing offense. Quarterback Quinto Flowers is a dual-threat signal caller.

 “They’ve got a lot of good athletes, starting with their quarterback that’s a good runner,” defensive coordinator Nick Holt said. “They average a little under 300 yards a game rushing, with the running back getting over 100 and the quarterback averaging a little under 90 yards a game. He can scramble all over the place, and they have some good receivers that can catch the ball but also run. They can cause some problems so you really have to prepare for a lot of different styles of offense.”

The WKU defense is allowing 391.1 yards a game, including 156.6 yards a game on the ground.


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