Tops topped by Tech: 23-22

Hannah Page, Editor
Inside Hilltopper Sports

The C-USA Championship rematch started out on a relatively high note for the Hilltoppers. On WKU's opening drive, the Hilltoppers posted 9 plays for 33 yards; however, the Tops turned the ball over on downs. Then, the Tops were able to force the Bulldogs into a 3 & out. WKU's second possession was more productive: 11 plays, 80 yards, a Mike White rushing touchdown, and Deon Yelder ran for the two-point conversion. By the end of the first half, WKU led LATech 15-13.

As the evening progressed, the Tops began to slow down, make costly mistakes, and became a little predictable. The silver lining is that WKU improved from the previous loss to Illinois. In many statistical categories, WKU played better than LATech. In the end, an unsuccessful wildcat formation in the red zone, a missed FG, a 3rd down sack on White, and a targeting penalty on Derik Overstreet put the Bulldogs in prime position to upset the Hilltoppers.

Notes & Observations

Quarterback

White put up another rushing touchdown: making it 2 on the season. He has not passed for a touchdown since EKU.

Offensive Line

The o-line allowed 4 sacks on White: bringing the average to about 3 allowed sacks per game.

Running Backs

WKU saw its best performance from the running backs in week 3: rushing for 151 yards and 3 touchdowns. This statistic is a drastic improvement from the 6 rushing yards against Illinois. Quinton Baker posted 79 yards for 1 touchdown, but was carted off the field after an injury. True freshman Jakairi Moses wasted no time with his 1 rushing attempt: good for 19 yards and a touchdown. D'Andre Ferby was out with an ankle injury.

Receivers

Tight ends shined during the game:

-Deon Yelder was 6-6 for 54 yards and a two point conversion.

-Kyle Fourtenbary was 2-2 for 11 yards

-Mik'Quan Deane was 1-1 for 34 yards

There were still some dropped passes from the wide receivers that - had been caught - would have put the Hilltoppers in position for huge first downs. Xavier Lane led the WR with 54 yards. Nacarius Fant only had 25 yards on the night and Lucky Jackson only posted 26.

Secondary

The secondary had a tough task covering LATech's Rhashid Bonnette who was able to post 140 yards and a touchdown on only 3 receptions and Teddy Veal who accumulated 78 yards.

Some notes:

-Safety Devon Key had 9 total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss

-Nickelback Leverick Johnson had 5 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss

-Cornerback Joe Brown had 2 total tackles and 1 interception

Linebackers

Some notes:

-Joel Iyiegbuniwe posted 5 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 0.5 tackles for loss

-Masai Whyte had 7 total tackles

-Ben Holt had 4 total tackles

Defensive Line

Another solid performance by the guys up front. Although the Bulldogs rushed for 122 yards, it was their lowest statistical performance on the season.

Special Teams

-Kicker Ryan Nuss missed a 30 yard field goal.

-Jake Collins averaged 40.0 yards per punt.


Other notes: 

-Todd Stewart said that there will be a request for C-USA to review Derik Overstreet's targeting penalty. If the ejection stands, he will have to sit out during the first half of the Ball State game.

-Attendance was 16,223

-WKU is, currently, a 9.5 point favorite over Ball State.

-Ball State's defensive coordinator - David Elson - is a previous WKU Football head coach (2003-2009).

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