Bowl Mania continues on Wednesday when the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers face off against the South Alabama Jaguars in the New Orleans Bowl. South Alabama won the lone meeting between these two programs, 31-24, back in 2013.
The kickoff for the midweek bowl action is at 9:00 p.m. EST inside the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. South Alabama is currently a four-point favorite, and the over/under total is 57 points.
What to Know – Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky won three of its final four contests of the regular season to solidify another bowl appearance for the fourth season in a row. The Hilltoppers finished the regular season in a tie for second in Conference USA. Head coach Tyson Helton is in his fourth season as the head coach of Western Kentucky.
On offense, the Hilltoppers light up the scoreboard averaging 35.8 points and 483.3 yards of total offense per game. Western Kentucky’s defense limits opponents to 23.5 points and 381.1 yards of total offense.
Star quarterback Austin Reed put his name in the transfer portal following the conclusion of the regular season but has since reaffirmed his commitment to the Hilltoppers over the weekend. Reed threw for 4,247 yards and 36 touchdowns while completing 64.5% of his passes during the year.
The Hilltoppers were 8-5 against the spread this season and 5-0 ATS against teams with a winning record. Western Kentucky is 6-1 ATS over their previous seven contests after an ATS loss.
What to Know – South Alabama Jaguars
The Jaguars wrapped up a solid season and bring some momentum into the bowl game with a five-game winning streak to close out the season. South Alabama finished right behind Troy in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference. Kane Wommack is in his second year as the head coach of the Jaguars.
South Alabama’s offense averages 31.9 points per game, backed by an offense that generates 424.7 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Jaguars limit opponents to 19.4 points and 304.5 yards of offense.
Junior running back La’Damian Webb carried the ball 197 times, racking up 1,104 yards on the ground and scoring 13 touchdowns. The Jaguars had three wide receivers tally 700 yards or more throughout the regular season.
South Alabama was 7-5 ATS during the year and 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference clashes.
The Pick is In
Two different offensive styles of play go at it Wednesday night in the Big Easy. Western Kentucky will run an up-tempo attack, while South Alabama will do what it can to keep the football away from Reed and pound the rock.
Having Reed for this game is huge for the Hilltoppers, and while South Alabama’s record should not be overlooked, its schedule wasn’t quite as difficult as Western Kentucky’s. We like WKU to win this one straight up.
The Pick: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers +4