Tops Gear Up for New Orleans Bowl Against South Alabama – WNKY News 40 Television



  • Before Western Kentucky’s move to Conference USA in 2014, the Tops and Jags were league rivals in the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama joined the Sun Belt in 2012 and would only face the Hilltoppers one time in the 2013 matchup.
  • The New Orleans Bowl will mark the final game of senior Juwuan Jones’ career at WKU. Jones has been a Hilltoppers staple since he stepped on campus in 2017. Wednesday will mark the 65th game of Jones’ career, the most all-time by any player in program history. He is also on track to make his 60th career start and 56th consecutive start.
  • The New Orleans Bowl will mark WKU’s first trip to the state of Louisiana since 2018 when the Hilltoppers visited Louisiana Tech in Ruston. That game served as the regular-season finale for WKU, and the Hilltoppers ended the year with a 30-15 victory.
  • With a win over South Alabama, Western Kentucky would match its 9-5 record from 2021. Last season, WKU also entered its bowl game with an 8-5 record and faced a team from the Sun Belt Conference.
  • Since joining Conference USA in 2014, Western Kentucky has finished the season with a victory six out of eight seasons. Of those six season-ending victories, four were in bowl games.

“We’re really, really excited to be a part of the New Orleans Bowl. I can’t think of a better venue for this year for our team. It’s a bowl that we really hoped we could get into. We’re very appreciative to the committee there for thinking of us and allowing us to partake in this bowl.”

Tyson Helton on accepting an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl

“We’re playing a fantastic South Alabama team. It should be a great matchup. They’ve done a great job there. We’re really looking forward to an exciting game. I know our guys always look forward to these games and competing in these bowl games. It’s just an honor to be part of that.”

-Helton on the matchup against South Alabama

“We like being on this platform. We like being able to have a very competitive game. I look back last year versus App State. We both played in a conference championship. They were a 10-win football team, and we were able to get that win down there in Boca. I thought that said a lot about our program. Nine out of 11 years being in a bowl game is special, but we take a lot of pride in winning bowl games.

-Helton on WKU consistently playing in bowl games on a national stage


In the last regular-season game of the year, WKU defeated Florida Atlantic in thrilling fashion when the Tops went for two to win the game in overtime. In a battle that went back-and-forth all afternoon, FAU got the ball first in overtime and scored a touchdown on its second play of the extra period. WKU then took over possession and scored on an Austin Reed touchdown run. Coach Helton left the offense on the field to go for two and the win, and Reed connected with Joshua Simon in the front corner of the end zone to lift the Hilltoppers to victory.


The Hilltoppers and Jaguars have only met one time in the history of both schools. WKU visited South Alabama in Mobile in 2013 and narrowly fell to the Jags by a score of 31-24.