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Oct. 9—Western Kentucky University will open its C-USA portion of the football schedule on Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
There's no place WKU coach Tyson Helton would rather be to face UTSA at 6 p.m.
"There's a lot of parity in our conference," Helton said Thursday in Bowling Green. "I'm just glad we're playing at home. At least we've got a chance in front of our crowd."
When WKU was last at Smith Stadium it was playing in front of a record crowd of 25,171, facing Indiana in a 33-31 loss that went right to the wire on Sept. 25.
Helton wants the same kind of energy in the stands when University of Texas San Antonio visits. WKU is 1-3 after falling 48-31 at No. 16 Michigan State last Saturday.
This won't be an easy task for the Hilltoppers. UTSA is undefeated 5-0 with big-time wins over Illinois (37-30) and at Memphis (31-28).
UTSA has a very effective running game. Sincere McCormick is considered one of the best running backs in the league and he's gone for over 100 yards in three of UTSA's five games.
Bailey Zappe has been brilliant in four games as quarterback for WKU. The Victoria, Texas, native has completed 133-of-183 (72.7%) passes for 1,712 yards and 16 touchdowns, compared to only two interceptions. Zappe has thrown 144 consecutive passes without a pick, the third-longest streak in WKU history behind Tyrell Pigrome's streak of 279 in 2020 and Mike White's streak of 161 in 2017.
Zappe's 428-yard passing average leads all FBS quarterbacks, with the next-closest being Virginia's Brennan Armstrong at 394.6 yards. The graduate senior transfer from Houston Baptist leads all of college football with 11,716 career passing yards — a 285.8-yard average in 41 career games.
"Offensively we've got to score touchdowns," Helton said. "Field goals are OK, but we've got to have touchdowns."