The Alabama Crimson Tide returns to Tuscaloosa for their opening home game of the 2016 season.

Last week, Alabama faced one of college football’s most recognizable brand names in the USC Trojans., This week, Alabama faces a relative newcomer to football at the FBS level in the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

If last week’s upset win by South Alabama over Mississippi State and near upset win at Tennessee by Appalachian State teach us anything, it is that a team should always respect their opponent on the opposing sidelines.

Coached by former Louisville and NFL quarterback Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky brings one of the top offenses in college football to Tuscaloosa

What should you know about the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers?

 

Football Success at a Traditional Basketball School

Similar to Kentucky and Louisville, Western Kentucky has a rich tradition on the hardwood with 23 NCAA Tournament appearances and ranking 18th in NCAA history with 1,715 wins. Prior to joining the FBS in 2008, WKU won a national championship, a Gateway Football title and 9 OVC titles in their history as an FCS program. Since 2008, the Hilltoppers have recorded a winning season in each of their last five seasons. In 2015, WKU won their first ever Conference USA championship, defeated South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl and finished the season 12-2 with a No. 24 national ranking.

 

An Underrated Offense

When you think of the top offenses in college football, schools like Oklahoma, Ohio State and Clemson come to mind. Western Kentucky ended last season as one of the top offenses in a number of categories. WKU ranked third in the FBS in scoring offense (44.3 ppg.), 4th in passing offense (372.2 yards/game), 9th in total offense (526.4 yards/game) and 11th in third down conversion percentage (47.8%).

Although the Hilltoppers lost record setting quarterback Brandon Doughty to graduation, South Florida transfer Mike White lit up the Rice Owls last week completing 25-31 passes for 517 yards and three scores in a 46-14 WKU win.

 

Alabama Connection

Twelve players on the WKU roster will make a return home to the state of Alabama including Tuscaloosa natives Jalen Madden and Adam Rashilla. Madden is the son of former Alabama running back Montoya Madden and is a freshman defensive lineman while Rashilla is a freshman along the offensive line. When breaking down the roster by state, Alabama has the third highest amount of players behind Kentucky (46) and Florida (22).