The Western Kentucky University football team travels to Mobile, Alabama this Saturday, hoping to get back into the win column as they begin Sun Belt Conference play. They’ll be facing South Alabama for the first time.
After an impressive 35-26 win over Kentucky to start the season two weeks ago, WKU stumbled in a 52-20 loss to Tennessee. The game featured seven Hilltopper turnovers.
South Alabama is also 1-1 on the season. The Jaguars were edged by Southern Utah in their season opener, 22-21, but then topped Tulane 41-39.
It will cost less to tailgate this year at WKU football games.
The university’s athletic department has announced that several parking lots that in previous years carried a $20 parking fee, will now be free on a first-come first-serve basis.
Those areas include McLean Hall, "The Valley", Bates Runner Hall and the Service Supply Building lawn.
WKU offers 30 tailgating areas within a half-mile of Houchens Industries- L.T. Smith Stadium. Tailgate areas open at 8 a.m. on Saturday game days The Hilltoppers’ home-opener is September 21st against the Morgan State Bears.
Keshawn Simpson ran for a pair of 3-yard touchdowns and Antonio Andrews added his own 3-yard score as Western Kentucky beat Kentucky 35-26 Saturday night making coach Bobby Petrino a winner in his debut.
The Hilltoppers also beat their in-state rival for a second straight year, though they didn't need overtime like they did last year in this win over the Southeastern Conference program. They outgained Kentucky 487-419 in total offense and held the ball for 35 minutes.
The loss ruined Kentucky coach Mark Stoops' debut. Coordinator Neal Brown's Air Raid offense struggled against a Western Kentucky defense returning seven starters from a bowl team that went 7-6 last season in the Sun Belt Conference.
Brandon Doughty was 27 of 34 for 271 yards and a TD, numbers that would have been better except for at least four drops including a would-be touchdown.
WKU kicks off its 2013 football season Saturday night against Kentucky.
While the contest is technically a home game for WKU, it's being played at LP Field in Nashville. The game marks the debut for both WKU coach Bobby Petrino and UK head coach Mark Stoops.
Petrino says season-openers are always a major challenge for the coaching staff.
"We have to do a good job on the sidelines making sure we're coaching our guys in between series, and really understanding what Kentucky is trying to do to us, and making sure our players stay into it mentally," said Petrino.
Petrino has 75 career wins as a head coach, and his teams have made seven bowl appearances. The UK game marks Petrino's return to coaching following his 2012 firing as head coach of Arkansas. Petrino was let go by the SEC school after he lied to Arkansas officials about a motorcycle accident involving his mistress.