Hilltopper Football Adds Alabama to 2016 Schedule

By: Kyle Neaves - WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Kyle Neaves - WKU Athletic Media Relations

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football has added the Alabama Crimson Tide to its 2016 schedule, set to be played September 10 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, the program announced on Wednesday.

The game will be a single game between the two teams who last faced off during the 2012 season when the Hilltoppers fell 35-0 to the eventual national champions.

“Obviously, playing Alabama is an opportunity to compete on the highest stage against a truly outstanding program,” Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. “The five hour drive enables our fans to make the trip to Tuscaloosa and enjoy a terrific college football experience. Our players enjoy the exposure that results from competing at the highest level and many of them have excelled in recent games against strong non-conference opponents.”

With the addition of Alabama in 2016, WKU will have played an opponent from the Southeastern Conference in seven of their eight seasons as FBS members dating back to 2009. Over the past five meetings, the Hilltoppers have gone 2-3 with a pair of victories over in-state foe Kentucky.

Individually against the SEC, WKU has shown it can compete at the highest level. Against Alabama in 2012, former defensive end Quanterus Smith, now with the Denver Broncos, tallied three sacks, all coming against Alabama’s D.J. Fluker – the No. 11 overall pick in the draft that season and the most Alabama gave up to an individual player all season.

In the 2013 season opener against Kentucky, quarterback Brandon Doughty completed nearly 80-percent of his passes, going 27-of-34 for 271 yards and one touchdown, to lead the Hilltoppers to a 35-26 victory. Former defensive back Jonathan Dowling, now with the Oakland Raiders, also had a performance to remember in the 2012 version of the game, intercepting the Wildcats’ quarterbacks three times as WKU pulled off the 32-31 overtime stunner. Against LSU in 2011, running back Bobby Rainey, now with Tampa Bay, tallied 100 all-purpose yards including 85 rushing and 15 receiving against the nation’s No. 2 that season.

The game becomes the third out-of-conference matchup on the 2016 schedule. Following the Alabama game (9/10), WKU will travel to Miami (OH) on Sept. 17 before returning to Bowling Green to host another SEC opponent, Vanderbilt, on Sept. 24. When the Commodores come to town, it will be the first time in school history an SEC team has played in Bowling Green.

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