Sep 4, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen reacts with punter James Evans (94) during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana looks to get back on track vs. Western Kentucky

Indiana hasn’t gotten off to the start it wanted in 2021.

The Hoosiers (1-2) are looking to get back on track Saturday night at Western Kentucky (1-1) in a non-conference game in Bowling Green, Ky.

Indiana turned the ball over four times and went just 3-of-6 in red zone chances in a 38-24 home loss last Saturday against No. 8 Cincinnati. Overall, the Hoosiers have turned the ball over seven times in three games, with all seven turnovers coming in its two losses to Cincinnati and Iowa.

“We talk about protecting the football at a high level, and we’ve not done that in the two games that we’ve lost,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.

Indiana starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has thrown a Big Ten-high six interceptions after throwing just four in seven games last season.

“Just want to take care of the ball, not put the ball in jeopardy,” said Penix, who threw three interceptions against Cincinnati last Saturday.

“Just want to make sure that I’m being smart with my reads and just being confident in all of my throws.”

Western Kentucky boasts the nation’s top pass offense (456.5 yards per game) and best offense in the country converting on third downs (11-16, 68.8 percent). The Hilltoppers are coming off a 38-35 loss at Army.

Western Kentucky starting quarterback Bailey Zappe has thrown for 859 yards on the season, with 10 TD passes against only two interceptions. Zappe earned Conference USA Co-Player of the Week honors after throwing for 435 yards and three TDs versus Army.

A sellout crowd is expected at 23,776-seat Houchens industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, where Western Kentucky fans will be encouraged to wear black in a black-out game in a nationally televised night game.

“Indiana is a really good football team,” Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton said. “You look at them across the board, all three phases, they’ve got players everywhere. Coach Allen does a fantastic job. They play hard, so it’s going to take everything we’ve got to try to go win this game. But really excited to have this opportunity to play in front of our home crowd in a great, great atmosphere.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy during the first quarter of the game against the Charlotte 49ers at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s Western Kentucky-Charlotte game canceled

A rare Tuesday morning college football game has fallen victim to a not-so-rare 2020 problem.

Western Kentucky’s game at Charlotte was canceled as a result of COVID-19 testing within the 49ers’ program.

It was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28, before being postponed to Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“We had high hopes that we would be able to play,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said in a statement released Monday. “We are disappointed for both teams and appreciate WKU and Conference USA for having worked with us to accommodate the unusual game date and time.

“We’ll continue to follow the advice of our medical professionals as they guide us to the safest outcomes for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We also recognize that having not played a game since Oct. 31 creates uncertainty for everyone involved. We will continue to make decisions with our student-athletes’ desires and best interests at heart.”

The schedule for Charlotte (2-3, 2-1 C-USA) has been in constant flux this season. Games against North Carolina, Georgia State, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Gardner-Webb and Marshall were either canceled or postponed. The 49ers have not played since a 53-19 loss at Duke on Oct. 31.

Tuesday’s game was the last one on the schedule for the Hilltoppers (4-6, 3-3).

Hill said the status of Charlotte’s game this Saturday against Florida International will be determined following the results of upcoming tests at both schools.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy celebrates a turnover with his players during the first half against the Charlotte 49ers at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte, Western Kentucky move game to a weekday morning

Charlotte and Western Kentucky will play a rare Tuesday morning game to give the 49ers a chance to clear COVID-19 protocols.

The Conference USA game was scheduled for Saturday and will instead be played Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. in Charlotte. The 49ers would not have been able to play this weekend, the school said in a news release on Monday.

“We appreciate WKU working with us and the league office to make this game happen,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said. “This has been a challenging season for our team, and we are grateful for each and every opportunity we have to compete. It took some creativity — but we are willing to look at all options to reward our student-athletes for all the work they continue to put forth.”

This is the second game that Charlotte (2-3, 2-1 C-USA) has rescheduled because of the pandemic. Games against North Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Georgia State and Middle Tennessee weren’t played earlier this year, and last weekend’s game against Marshall was called off because of the outbreak in the Charlotte program.

The Hilltoppers (4-6, 3-3) have avoided any COVID-19 schedule changes and will end their season against Charlotte.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; Western Kentucky players Dominique Bradshaw, left, and Kendrick Simpkins (16) defend on an incomplete pass to BYU wide receiver Keanu Hill during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 BYU stays perfect, rips Western Kentucky

Zach Wilson threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score and No. 11 BYU scored touchdowns on all five of its first-half possessions while cruising to a 41-10 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday night in Provo, Utah.

Wilson completed 18-of-32 passes for 224 yards and was intercepted once in the third quarter, snapping a school-record streak of 184 passes without an interception. He also rushed for 35 yards on five carries, including a five-yard touchdown run, before giving way to backup Baylor Romney at the start of the fourth quarter.

Tyler Allgeier rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown and Dax Milne caught five passes for a game-high 67 yards and a touchdown for BYU, which improved to 7-0 for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2001. The Cougars next travel to defending Mountain West champion No. 25 Boise State (2-0), a 49-30 winner at Air Force earlier in the day, on Friday night.

Tyrrell Pigrome completed 19-of-30 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and Gaej Walker rushed for 75 yards on 17 carries to lead Western Kentucky (2-5), which finished with 10 penalties for 96 yards.

BYU opened the game with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Allgeier to take a 7-0 lead. Wilson was four-of-five on the drive for 66 yards, including a 38-yarder to Gunner Romney to the Hilltoppers’ 3-yard line.

Western Kentucky answered with a 44-yard field goal Brayden Narveson to cut it to 7-3 but BYU answered with 28 consecutive points while building a 35-3 halftime lead, with Wilson throwing touchdown passes of 23 yards to Milne, 42 yards to Lopini Katoa and four yards to tight end Isaac Rex. Wilson also scored on a five-yard run.

Western Kentucky started the second half with a 20-play, 74-yard drive that chewed up 10:06 on the clock but failed to score when Walker was stopped about a foot short of the goal-line on a fourth-and-goal run. But four plays later Wilson was intercepted by Dionte Ruffin who added a 28-yard return. Pigrome then hit Joshua Simon with a three-yard touchdown pass on the following play to cut it 35-10.

Jake Oldroyd connected on a 49-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter to boost BYU’s lead to 38-10. Oldroyd added a 45-yarder with 58 seconds remaining as the Cougars, who outgained the Hilltoppers, 410-262, topped the 40-point mark for the sixth time this season.

–Field Level Media