BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After four years as a backup quarterback, Drew Eckels will
finally get an opportunity to start in WKU Football’s season opener Friday night at
No. 4 Wisconsin. Still, the redshirt senior boasts experience, having seen playing
time in 17 games in relief of Mike White and Brandon Doughty, arguably two of the
best gunslingers in program history.
Between that on-field action and his performance since the turn of the calendar to
2018, he, his coach and his teammates have confidence that Eckels is the right
Hilltopper to lead this offense against the Badgers and beyond.
“He has been a leader throughout spring and throughout camp,” running back Marquez
Trigg said. “When things are going bad, even if he does something wrong, he’ll pick
the team up. He’s more of a leader in terms of helping us pick each other up.”
When talking to the media after Tuesday evening’s practice, Eckels reflected on what
it felt like to finally see his name on the top of the depth chart, and what he
thinks the WKU fans might expect from him under center.
“It’s pretty crazy honestly; I made it a long way from Daytona Beach,” he said. “I’m
happy to be here and I want to make everyone proud, no matter who they are.
“I expect the fans to expect from me that I’ll go out there and work as hard as I
can to try and get this program back on top to where it has been,” Eckels continued,
before adding with a chuckle, “and they probably expect me to win.”
A victory for the Hilltoppers would be the first in program history against teams
currently in the Big Ten. WKU is 0-7 against the conference, including a 24-6 loss
to the Badgers in the teams’ lone meeting in 2001.
Facing a top-10 team in the country will certainly be a challenge for the Red and
White, but one head coach Mike Sanford’s quintet of running backs listed on the
depth chart is ready for.
“They’re big physical guys and they’re pretty good at run stopping, so I’m looking
forward to that challenge,” Trigg said. “It’s about what we can do as running backs
to get in open space and make plays, break through arm tackles even though it’s
clogged up and make plays on our own.”
But when you face Wisconsin, you’re also facing the rabid fans packed into Camp
Randall Stadium, which the Hilltoppers expect to be rocking for an 8 p.m. kickoff on
“It’s a big atmosphere, 80,000 people, we’re excited for that,” Trigg said. “This is
what you come here for, to play these types of games, play these big teams.”