Redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty is the man who makes Western Kentucky go on offense, but the Hilltoppers offer more than just a star quarterback.
Doughty is surrounded by several playmakers on offense and an improved defense that has helped the team go from 8-5 last season to 10-2 this year.
WKU hosts Southern Miss at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky., in the Conference USA title game.
Here are five Hilltoppers to keep an eye on:
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
1. Tight end Tyler Higbee: The 6-foot-6, 250-pound redshirt senior is likely the best pass-catching tight end that SUSM has faced all season. He battled back from injury last week to lead the team with six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown in the 49-28 win over Marshall. When he's on the field, WKU is a better offense.
2. Linebacker Nick Holt: WKU has a solid linebacking corps and the 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior is the leader of the group. He is the C-USA player of the Week after picking off two passes and forcing a fumble Friday. He is the son of the WKU defensive coordinator, who goes by the same name.
3. Running back Anthony Wales: After star running back Leon Allen went down with a season-ending injury in the second game, WKU had to have someone replace that production. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Wales has proven to be that man with with 129 carries for 936 yards and seven touchdowns.
4. Receiver Taywan Taylor: The junior has again been the big-play threat for the Hilltoppers with 71 catches for 1,198 yards. Doughty does a good job of spreading the ball around, but Taylor is the best deep target.
5. Linebacker T.J. McCollum: The redshirt sophomore transferred from UAB after that program was shut down for a while after the 2014 season. McCollum has been one of the most successful former Blazers this season. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker leads WKU with 94 tackles and 10.5 tackles for lost yardage.