Louisville defeats WKU 38-21

Above: Western Kentucky University quarterback Steven Duncan warms up Saturday before Louisville’s 38-21 win at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Duncan suffered a foot injury in the third quarter that will require him to miss the next several weeks. Below: WKU head coach Tyson Helton stands on the sideline at Nissan Stadium.

Western Kentucky will have a new quarterback taking the field after the bye week.

Hilltoppers head coach Tyson Helton announced Monday that quarterback Steven Duncan will be out the next several weeks with a foot injury. WKU’s starting quarterback injured his left foot in the second half of the Hilltoppers’ 38-21 loss to Louisville on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

Helton said X-rays on Sunday confirmed a cracked bone in Duncan’s foot. The coach noticed Duncan hobbling in the second half, but said the quarterback was unaware of the injury and didn’t express feeling any pain during the game.

“Doctors feel like they need to go ahead and put a pin in that and we’re probably going to be losing Steven Duncan for several weeks,” Helton said. “I don’t know when he would return, but it’s something we felt like we needed to go ahead and do because of the injury.”

Helton said the injury occurred some time in the third quarter, but he kept playing on adrenaline. Despite the injury, Duncan threw for a career-high three touchdown passes against the Cardinals on 25-of-47 passing for 245 yards.

“Usually this type of injury is going to keep you out a longer period of time,” Helton said. “I would say you’re going to be in the latter part of the season and then make a decision – does a guy try to play three or four games to finish the season? When we get there, we’ll make a decision and it’s so early.

“Right now he’s out indefinitely and I’m planning for most of the season for him not being there.”

Graduate transfer Ty Storey is the obvious option to replace Duncan, but Helton said the quarterback job will be open between Storey, redshirt sophomore Davis Shanley and redshirt freshman Kevaris Thomas.

The Hilltoppers (1-2) are on a bye this week before hosting UAB on Sept. 28.

Duncan has completed 70-of-119 pass attempts with five touchdowns this season, but has thrown four interceptions. He had an interception returned for a touchdown at FIU and a fumble against Louisville that was returned for a touchdown.

Duncan played all but one snap as the Hilltoppers’ quarterback through the first three games. Storey had one rushing attempt in Week 2 at FIU.

Those two quarterbacks were the front-runners for the starting job going into fall camp. Helton said it was a tight competition that came down to a gut decision going with Duncan.

Storey threw for 1,584 yards on 143-of-250 passing and 11 touchdowns last season for the Arkansas Razorbacks. WKU will visit Fayetteville, Ark., on Nov. 9.

“I would think Ty is the obvious answer just because of what we’ve been trying to do,” Helton said. “I am going to leave it open still for those guys to compete. We’ve got some time there. The first thing I want to do is put the best 11 out there offensively that gives us a chance to win. It may not be a one-man deal, certain guys may have packages and we have to do a good job as coaches to have the right package for a guy.

“Ty is kind of the obvious answer but I really like Shanley and KT, so we’re going to leave it open and have the best plan for UAB.”

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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