Nov. 19—BOWLING GREEN — The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are ready to go bowling again.
WKU became bowl-eligible for the fifth consecutive season under head coach Tyson Helton on a Senior Day Saturday with a 28-23 conquest of visiting Sam Houston State in a back-and-forth Conference USA football game at Houchens/Smith Stadium.
Hilltoppers linebacker Desmyn Baker intercepted Keegan Shoemaker’s fourth-and-goal pass in the end zone with 38 seconds remaining after the Bearkats drove to the Western 8-yard line on their final drive of the game.
“This was a great team victory — I’m so proud of this bunch,” Helton said. “We’re bowl-eligible once again and that’s a big thing around here. We love going to bowl games and we love winning bowl games, so it was important to find a way to win this game, and we found a way.
“We turned the ball over five times and when you do that you’re not supposed to win the game, but our defense stepped up for us time and time again. You win championships with defense and you win big games with defense — our guys were outstanding.
“We also made some explosive plays on the offensive side, including a big one down the stretch that helped pull this one out for us.”
It was a nice bounce-back for WKU (6-5, 4-3 C-USA), which failed to qualify for the league championship game against No. 25 Liberty when it was defeated 39-28 by visiting New Mexico State last week. It was also the Hilltoppers’ 200th victory all time at Houchens/Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers opened the scoring on their second possession of the first half when a 45-yard touchdown pass from Austin Reed to Dalvin Smith capped a four-play, 57-yard march and made it 7-0 at 9:32 of the first period
It remained that way until early in the second period when the Bearkats drove 90 yards in seven plays and pulled within 7-6 when Shoemaker hooked…
Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/wku-bowl-eligible-5th-straight-101600461.html
Author : Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
Publish date : 2023-11-19 10:16:00
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