The resurgent Western Kentucky football program will be hoping to maintain a torrid momentum on Saturday when the Hilltoppers play host to Charlotte on homecoming at Houchens-Smith Stadium in Bowling Green.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.

Western (4-2, 3-0 Conference USA) is coming off one of its most rewarding victories in several years, having upset visiting Army 17-8 a week ago -- now, the Hilltoppers hope to remain unblemished in the league against the 49ers.

"I talked to the team about how we've played a half a season, but this is where good teams start to separate themselves from the pack," WKU first-year head coach Tyson Helton said. "You can't get caught up with people patting you on the back and telling you this is a good team and those kind of things.

"You have to keep the edge that you had through the first six games, and I think they will. They understand the blueprint we've put into place and the process we go through each week to get them ready, and they've responded well.

"But our mindset is to always have the underdog mentality and a chip on our shoulder, show up at the park mad and ready to play."

Something has to give in this one, as the Hilltoppers -- with one of the best run defenses in the nation -- will be up against Charlotte's star running back Benny LeMay, who had 234 yards of total offense in the 49ers' loss at FIU last week.

More memorable to Hilltopper fans, however, are the 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns LeMay produced when Charlotte clubbed the then-faltering Hilltoppers 40-14 last fall in North Carolina.

"He's a big back, a strong runner, he doesn't get tackled on first contact," Helton said of LeMay. "So we'll have to be able to wrap up, get guys to the ball, and it's going to take multiple tacklers to get him down.

"This team averages 33 points a game, so we've got another big challenge in front of us."

Charlotte (2-4, 0-2) leads C-USA and is 26th nationally in rushing yards per game (218.7).

WKU continues to be led by quarterback Ty Storey, the Arkansas graduate transfer who passed for 140 yards and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the conquest of Army. Running back Gaej Walker, meanwhile, rushed for 132 yards on 25 carries.

But it's the Hilltoppers' defense, led by 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior end DeAngelo Malone, that is garnering national attention. WKU is 20th nationally in scoring defense (18.5 ppg) and has allowed a mere 6.7 points per game during its current three-game winning streak.

Malone leads the nation in tackles for loss (14), and his 8.8 tackles per game lead all FBS defensive linemen. He also paces C-USA with seven sacks.

"They're the story of the year in Conference USA," first-year Charlotte head coach Will Healy said of the Hilltoppers. "They are playing great in all three phases of the game -- offensively, defensively and special teams -- and are a great example for us to watch on film.

"We're at their place for homecoming, so we have to come in ready to play. This will be a tremendous test for our football team -- they have a storied tradition."

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