The WKU Football defense has held three consecutive opponents to 20 points for the first time in the program’s FBS Era, and the first time since 2004. The Hilltoppers will look to continue that streak in their upcoming game against Charlotte, this Saturday, Oct. 13, at 2:30 p.m. CT at Jerry Richardson Stadium.
Although WKU sits at 1-4 on the season, there are still seven games to go in the Conference USA schedule. Through three three-point losses in the first five weeks, defensive seniors like Masai Whyte and team captain DeAndre Farris have been able to keep the Hilltoppers focused on their goals ahead.
“What I want to see from both of those guys is to keep the team on the right track mentally, not only just the defense but the entire team,” defensive coordinator Clayton White said during his Monday press conference. “Those guys have that type of qualities where they can keep us on track mentally, regardless of what happens one play at a time, one game at a time. Let’s chip away at this thing and see what happens.”
Senior defensive tackle Evan Sayner preaches those same sentiments.
“We got a bad taste in our mouths after the [Marshall] loss, so we’re ready to get back out there and try to make it right,” Sayner said. “The conference is open for anybody’s taking right now.”
In the first-ever matchup between the two schools last season, WKU defeated Charlotte by a score of 45-14. The Hilltoppers took a 38-14 lead into halftime and the defense shut out the 49ers in the second half, thanks in part to a blocked field goal by defensive lineman Julien Lewis.
Overall, Charlotte had only 309 yards of total offense – 248 rushing and 61 passing – as then-freshmen DeAngelo Malone and Demetrius Cain put exclamation points on the 31-point win with sacks on the final two plays of the game.
This year, White and the defense have pinpointed running back Benny LeMay as a key cog in the 49er offense. LeMay missed last season’s game against the Hilltoppers as Aaron McAllister led Charlotte with 157 yards and two touchdowns, including an 89-yard score in the second quarter.
“For LeMay, the No. 1 thing is his size. He’s really 220-plus at 5-9, and those guys are really hard to tackle,” White said about the tailback. “That’s what he brings, he broke some runs, I think it’s a tackling thing with LeMay. He runs hard and he finishes and he’s definitely trying to will his team to more wins.”
The 3-2 49ers also come into the matchup following a bye week. It will be Homecoming 2018 for Charlotte, hosting its first home game since Sept. 13, which was a 28-25 victory over Old Dominion. That was the team’s last win, losing its past two games at UMass (49-31) and UAB (28-7).
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