BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football wrapped up practice Wednesday evening as the
Hilltoppers prepare for a Friday, Nov. 2 game against Conference USA opponent Middle
Tennessee. Kick off at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m. CT and will
be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
“The mood of our locker room is still intense. We want to play, we want to get
better every day and we want to beat Middle,” redshirt senior defensive lineman
Julien Lewis said. “You want to put your best effort out there for every [opponent],
but when it’s a rivalry you always dig a little deeper.”
Historically, the WKU has faced the Blue Raiders a total of 67 times, posting a
32-34-1 record. The Hilltoppers are currently on a three-game win streak against
Middle Tennessee, with the most recent victory coming on Nov. 17 of last season by a
score of 41-38.
The 2017 game was a barn-burner, as the Hilltoppers and Blue Raiders played a
triple-overtime game that saw WKU win on a 37-yard field goal by Ryan Nuss. Senior
quarterback Mike White led the Hilltoppers, throwing for 485 yards and five
touchdowns, including a 93-yard touchdown pass to Lucky Jackson in the fourth
This season, the 5-3 Middle Tennessee squad ranks 67th in total defense (allowing
419.8 yards per game) and 87th in total offense (averaging 355.4 yards per game).
The Blue Raiders are 4-1 in Conference USA play and have won four of their past five
games since losing 49-7 at No. 3 Georgia on Sept. 15.
“Middle Tennessee has a very good defense, very fast and very physical,” redshirt
freshman quarterback Davis Shanley said. “It’s a rivalry game and we need to stay
focused. It’s a big deal, rivalries are always big and anybody can beat anybody on
any given day.”
Despite a 1-7 record, the Hilltoppers look to build off of this season and keep
competing every week at a high level. A victory on Friday night in Murfreesboro
would give WKU four consecutive wins in the series for the first time since
“We’re just trying to pick everybody up, everybody might have their heads down
because of the last loss,” redshirt senior running back D’Andre Ferby said. “But at
the end of the day it’s rivalry week, it’s a new energy we have and we’re trying to
go out there and execute.”
Ferby continued, “No matter how the season’s going, when rivalry games come, records
go out the window. We’re ready, Coach Sanford’s preaching about trying to send us
seniors out the right way, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
“We just want to get after these guys, nobody wants to lose to their rival. We’ve
won the past three so we want to keep it going,” added redshirt senior defensive
back DeAndre Farris said. “We’re still playing for each other. One thing we’ve put a
lot of emphasis on this season is being a family and we’re playing for one
With four games remaining, the Hilltoppers look to finish the season on the upswing.
After Friday’s game, WKU will face Florida Atlantic, UTEP and Louisiana Tech on Nov.
24 to wrap up the 2018 campaign.