Another heartbreaking loss for the Blue Raiders this season as Western Kentucky knocked them off 36-33 in double overtime Thursday night at Floyd Stadium. It was the third loss of the season for MTSU by a combined nine points.
Gorby Loreus led the Blue Raiders with 11 tackles, including eight solo, and one-and-a-half for a loss of four yards, in Thursday's contest against Western Kentucky. (B. Lambert)
MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill was very upset after the game.
“I’m very disappointed and very frustrated with the loss,” he said. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror. We got to do everything better; we our beating ourselves.”
The top rusher in the Sun Belt, WKU senior Bobby Rainey ended the game by catching a seven-yard touchdown strike from junior single caller Kawaun Jakes in double overtime to win the game. Earlier in the same overtime, Alan Gendreau kicked a 23-yard field goal for the Blue Raiders to put them ahead 33-30. Rainey finished with 166 yards rushing and 57 yard receiving in the win.
In the first overtime, Blue Raider quarterback Logan Kilgore found senior wide-out Sancho McDonald for a 25-yard score to send it into the second extra period. WKU got on the board first in overtime with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore fullback Kadeem Jones.
Down 23-16 with 4:55 left in the game, Kilgore found walk-on junior wide receiver Anthony Amos for the eight-yard touchdown to tie the score at 23. WKU had a chance to win it with two seconds left, but the Blue Raiders blocked the kick and the game went into overtime.
The MTSU Blue Raiders opened the game by blocking a Western Kentucky 48-yard field goal on its first possession.
MTSU took advantage by using its quick pace no-huddle offense and drove the ball 69 yards in 11 plays. Kilgore was 5-for-6 passing during the drive. However, he used his feet to give the Blue Raiders its first points of the game with a two-yard touchdown run with 7:37 mark of the opening quarter. It was his first career touchdown run.
The Hilltoppers returned the favor with a one-yard score by sophomore fullback Kadeem Jones to tie the score at 7 with 1:06 left in the first quarter. During the drive, junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes found the SBC leading rusher Bobby Rainey for a 14-yard strike on third-and-6 at the MT 20.
In the second quarter, both teams traded turnovers.
Jakes was sacked and lost the ball, the Blue Raiders recovered at the Hilltopper 34 by sophomore linebacker Craig Allen. However, two plays later Kilgore tried to go deep to junior wide out Jamal Grey, but senior WKU cornerback Derrius Brooks picked the ball off at the WKU 1. However, the Blue Raider defense held.
Benny Cunningham missed the game, because of an injury. So the Blue Raiders had to use a running back committee to pick up the slack.
However, MTSU only had 21 yards rushing in the first half. In the second half, they it picked it up with 179 yards rushing. Sophomore William Pratcher finished with 106 yards rushing, while senior D.D. Kyles added 96 in the loss.
WKU had a chance to break a 7-7 tie, but a 46-yard field goal by Casey Tinius with 44 seconds in the half was wide and that was the score at the break.
The running game finally woke up during the Blue Raider second drive of the second half. MTSU drove 75 yards with all of it coming on the ground. One of the key plays on the drive was a 33-yard run by sophomore running back William Pratcher. Fellow running back senior D.D. Kyles rambled for a 25-yard score to break the 7-7 tie with 10:17 left in the third. However, the extra point was blocked.
MTSU continued the rushing attack on its next possession, but senior wide out Malcolm Beyah fumbled a completion and the Hilltoppers recovered the ball at the WKU 20. However, the Hilltoppers had to punt.
The punt was downed at the MTSU 2. On the next play, Pratcher was nailed for a safety by Jackson with 5:40 left in the third to make the score 13-9, Blue Raiders.
A couple drives later, Rainey punched it in from 10 yards out to give the Hilltoppers a 16-13 advantage with 35 seconds left in the third.
The Blue Raiders tied the score with a 22-yard field goal by Alan Gendreau with 9:23 left in the game. However, the Hilltoppers answered when freshman John Evans raced 90 yards on the kickoff return for the score and make it 23-16 with 9:10 left in the game.
Both teams decided to wear its home jerseys for tonight’s game. The Blue Raiders wore black, while its conference rivals wore its red jerseys.
MTSU drops to 1-4, and has next week off before heading to Florida Atlantic on Oct. 22.