Navy, WKU both want to use strong rushing games

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - Western Kentucky expects to see the triple option early and often from Navy on Saturday.

The Hilltoppers (2-2) hope to do a better job defending it than the last time they played the Midshipmen (2-0), who ran for 410 yards in a 40-14 victory two years ago. This year, Navy has the nation's top rushing offense at 398 yards per game.

While WKU knows what it'll see from Navy, Hilltoppers coach Bobby Petrino hasn't announced who will be his starting quarterback. That's not necessarily a problem with senior running back Antonio Andrews prepared to be the focus of WKU's offense after rushing for a school-record five touchdowns last week.

WKU is averaging 473 yards per game and could use Andrews to exploit a Navy defense yielding 408 yards per contest.

With the Hilltoppers' quarterback situation up in the air, Petrino wants to rely on the team's strengths -- which Andrews' running provides.

"I think the thing we really learned as a staff is to play to your strengths, which is our running backs, our offensive line and our ability to run the ball and get it to the guys that can make plays," the coach said.

Andrews' stellar performance not only ignited last week's 58-17 rout of FCS Morgan State, it allowed Petrino to evaluate all four of his quarterbacks. Freshman Todd Porter started instead of junior Brandon Doughty and the result was 5-of-10 passing for 76 yards and an interception.

Sophomore transfer Nelson Fishback completed 3 of 4 attempts for 49 yards and redshirt freshman Damarcus Smith was 2 of 5 for 33 yards with an interception. The demotion seemed to inspire Doughty, who completed all seven passes for 55 yards after throwing eight interceptions the previous two games.

Still, Petrino and his staff must decide who provides the best QB option as the Hilltoppers prepare to resume Sun Belt Conference play next week at Louisiana-Monroe. The process has posed challenges for the team but Petrino called them self-inflicted obstacles that require taking as much time as necessary to get over them.

"We had opportunities to just take care of the ball and play well as an offense and we weren't able to do that," Petrino said. "We have some work to do to get some consistency."
 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments