BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - More than regional bragging rights are on the line when Western Kentucky hosts Middle Tennessee on Thursday night.
Separated by just 100 miles, the schools are even closer in the Sun Belt Conference standings. The Hilltoppers (6-2 overall), Blue Raiders (5-3) and Arkansas State Red Wolves (5-3) are all tied for second at 3-1.
The winner of Thursday's game remains within striking distance of first-place Louisiana-Monroe (6-2, 4-0), which beat WKU 43-42 in overtime on Oct. 20 and MTSU 31-17 on Oct. 6. The loser will need outside help just to finish second in the conference.
While WKU coach Willie Taggart downplayed the rivalry with MTSU, he acknowledges Thursday night's contest has become an elimination game.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.