Western Kentucky vs

Old Dominion

at Charlotte
Mon, Dec 18
11:30 AM Pacific
Rotation: 201
Odds: Old Dominion -6.5, Total: 49.5

Game Analysis

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Note: The line was 6.5 on Monday morning when I updated the analysis and sent it to subscribers. The line then went down to 4.5. Either way, it was a no play for me.

Old Dominion (-6.5/-4.5)  28   Western Kentucky  24

Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed will miss this game, along with 3 starting offensive linemen and 3 starters on defense. However, I think the market has overreacted.

I don’t blame Reed, who has NFL aspirations, for sitting this one out with the possibility that 4 of the 5 opening day offensive linemen will not play. Veteran LT Mark Goode has been out since week 9 while RT Wes Dorsey, C Vincent Murphy, and LG Quantavious Leslie have all entered the transfer portal and I’ll now assume that all of them will not play – although being in the portal does not exclude a player from playing in the bowl game and coach Helton stated that most of the guys that entered the portal will play in this game. Turner Helton will likely get the nod to start at quarterback and I expect the typical drop off from a multiple year starter to a new starter – although Helton did complete all 8 of his passes in mop-up duty this season. WKU’s offense was 0.1 yppl better than average this season but I now have them rated at 0.8 yppl worse than average with Reed and more than half the starting line presumably out.

Old Dominion’s defense also has a significant absence, as All-American LB Jason Henderson will miss this game due to injury. Henderson led the nation in tackles (again) with 170 stops, including 19.5 total tackles for loss. He’s a big reason while Old Dominion had one of the best run defenses in the nation (4.1 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yprp against an average team). Safety Terry Jones (#3 tackler) has entered the transfer portal and I suspect he’ll pass on playing in the bowl game. Old Dominion’s defense was 0.2 yards per play better than average for the season, but I rate the Monarchs’ D at 0.1 yppl worse than average without Henderson. The strength of the ODU defense is still defending the run, but Western Kentucky is a pass heavy team, and I don’t think that’s going to change with the backup quarterback in, as Helton reportedly has a very good grasp of the offense (the head coach is his uncle). I have Western Kentucky tallying 368 total yards at 5.1 yppl in this game.

Old Dominion relies on their defense to win games, as their offense rates at 0.8 yppl worse than average after adjusting for the outlier game against Marshall when RB Kadarius Calloway ran for 236 yards on 11 runs (he averaged a more modest 5.3 ypr in his other games). Calloway is banged up and may not play (he missed their season final and ran for just 71 yards on 20 runs in weeks 11 and 12 after missing week 10) but the Monarchs are still a better than average rushing team and Western Kentucky’s defensive weakness is defending the run (210 yards at 5.6 yprp allowed to teams that would average just 4.9 yprp against an average defense). ODU’s pass attack is terrible (1.6 yppp worse than average) and I suspect that they’ll focus on running the ball and hope that their defense can play well enough without their star linebacker to win.

Western Kentucky has a few defensive players in the portal, who may or may not play in this game. Safety Talique Allen led the team in tackles (just 50) but I don’t think he’s a significant loss (same for LB Baker). CB Upton Stout had a team-leading 9 passes defended in 7 games and is reportedly headed to Michigan, but the Hilltoppers’ pass defense was better in the 5 games that he missed. I adjusted a bit for Stout being out and rate Western Kentucky’s defense at 0.3 yppl worse than average. I project 399 yards at 5.4 yppl for ODU in this game.

After all the adjustments I come up with Old Dominion by 4 points and 51.7 total points.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Western Kentucky
  • Old Dominion


  • Run Plays 25.3 37.5
  • Run Yards 115.9 210.0
  • YPRP 4.6 5.6


  • Pass Comp 24.3 20.0
  • Pass Att 40.4 34.4
  • Comp % 60.1% 58.2%
  • Pass Yards 284.3 237.6
  • Sacks 0.8 2.3
  • Sack Yards 4.9 13.8
  • Sack % 2.0% 6.2%
  • Pass Plays 41.2 36.6
  • Net Pass Yards 279.4 223.7
  • YPPP 6.8 6.1


  • Total Plays 66.5 74.1
  • Total Yards 395.3 433.7
  • YPPL 5.9 5.9


  • Int 1.0 1.2
  • Int % 2.5% 3.4%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.8
  • Turnovers 1.6 2.0
  • Points 29.8 28.2
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