WKU (0-0) vs. Austin Peay (0-0)
Date: Saturday, Aug. 27
Kickoff: 11 a.m. CT
Location: Bowling Green, Ky. (Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium)
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Listen: WKLX (SAM 100.7 FM) and WWKU (ESPN Radio 102.7 FM) in Bowling Green
Social: @WKUFootball | @WKUSports
Game Notes: WKU | Austin Peay
Game Day Information: Tickets | Game Day Guide | Live Stats
NOTES AND QUOTES
- Western Kentucky and Austin Peay will play the very first college football game of the 2022 season when they kickoff at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET). The Nebraska versus Northwestern game is a close second with an 11:30 a.m. CT kick time. Four fellow Conference USA teams will also open their respective seasons during week zero as Florida Atlantic hosts Charlotte and UTEP welcomes North Texas.
- When WKU kicks off Saturday morning, Tyson Helton will open his fourth season as head coach of the Tops. Helton will become the first head coach since David Elson (2003-09) to spend more than three seasons at WKU. Helton has 23 wins through three seasons and will be in pursuit of Elson who earned 30 victories in his first four years on The Hill, which is the best four-year start to a coaching career in program history.
- After going 0-12 against non-conference foes during its first three years in an FBS conference, WKU has turned it around against teams from Group of Five or FCS conferences, going 22-8 against them since 2012. From 2012 through the 2017 regular season, the Hilltoppers posted a 16-1 record against such teams, but since the 2017 Cure Bowl, WKU has a 6-6 mark in the past 12 such games. The Hilltoppers are 13-3 in home games against non-conference Group of Five or FCS teams in that time frame.
“I think we’ve got a good football team. We’ve got a lot of questions we’ve got to have answered by the end of fall camp, and there should be some really good competition out there. There’s not a lot of positions I can think of right now where there isn’t competition, so that’s a good thing. We’re excited to get started and we’ll see where we go.”
-Head Coach Tyson Helton before opening fall camp
“Everybody knows we were really really good on offense last year. We have some pieces left and a lot of turnover and stuff, but I’m really excited about the guys we have in here. Coach Helton has done a great job of assembling a staff that works together with a lot of continuity. Frankly, we’re going to just try and put our guys in the best position to be successful and score enough points to win the game, whatever that might be.”
-Co-Offensive Coordinator Ben Arbuckle previewing the offense
“I think we’ve had a fantastic summer. I thought we built throughout the spring to a place where we were a lot further along than I ever would have believed. Again, I think that goes back to the culture of accountability we have and the high standard of performance our players expect. I’m really excited to be able to get going and move this thing to what we feel like can be one of the better defenses in the country.”
-Defensive Coordinator Tyson Summers on the defense heading into the fall
LAST TIME OUT
The 2021 season ended on a high note for WKU as the Hilltoppers brought home a Boca Raton Bowl Championship by defeating Appalachian State, 59-38, to cap a historic season. Quarterback Bailey Zappe went out in style by throwing for 422 yards and six touchdowns to become the all-time leader in single season passing yards and passing touchdowns at the FBS level.
ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY
The Governors enter the new season after going 6-5 and 4-2 in ASUN play in 2021. Austin Peay is coached by Scotty Walden who took over the program in November of 2020, right before the team started playing in the spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Govs went 4-2 in that condensed spring season before their fall 2021 campaign.
Austin Peay is WKU’s sixth-most common opponent with 42 all-time meetings between the two schools. Heading into Saturday’s contest, WKU owns a 35-6-1 advantage in the series. The Tops and Govs last met in 2012 when WKU claimed a dominant 49-10 victory in Bowling Green.