49ers travel to Kentucky to face the Hilltoppers in a crucial C-USA East battle
Take what they learned from the FAU game, and put the negative thoughts in the rearview mirror; this was Head Coach Will Healy’s thoughts about the last game against FAU as the team prepares for another tough test against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
“The sun came up on Friday morning in case any of y’all were wondering,” Healy said. “It was a tough second half for us on Thursday. I take full responsibility for that.”
Healy is taking every game as a “one game at a time’ type of mentality and this upcoming game against WKU will be no different in terms of how the team prepares, but Healy wants them to just prepare better.
The 49ers haven’t seen a team quite like WKU in how fast and up-tempo the Hilltoppers like to play. It will be different, but senior defensive end Markees Watts feels based on how they practice, the game will slow down and they won’t be uncomfortable.
“We have a chance to be really good as a defense but we just have to finish,” Watts said. “It is something that we are continuing to work on.”
The 49ers have played one similar opponent to the Hilltoppers in FIU a few weeks ago. Both the Panthers and the Hilltoppers like to try and beat teams over the top, and this is everpresent in Hilltopper quarterback Bailey Zappe’s numbers. He completes 71% of his passes and has over 3,000 yards on the year. It will be a challenge for the corners and safeties this week without question.
The Hilltoppers are battle-tested as many of their losses were close games against quality opponents such as Indiana, Michigan State, UTSA and Army. It will be a challenge that Healy looks forward to nonetheless.
“I am ready to see how these guys respond,” Healy said.
Currently, there are four teams atop the east side of C-USA and this game could go a long way for the 49ers in their hunt for the east side crown.
The 49ers are currently 18 point underdogs in Vegas, but this is a team that likes to make bettors go insane, so look for them to come out ready to play come Saturday.
How to watch
the forecast is calling for rain showers and a high of 59 degrees. Sloppy conditions could neutralize WKU’s explosive offense and level the playing field for Charlotte tomorrow. Kick is slated for 4pm ET and you can tune in via ESPN+.