The Hilltoppers went back to work this week, coming off arguably their best performance of the season. WKU fought back on the road in the second half after being down by 2 touchdowns at the half. They trailed Florida International by seven with only a few seconds left in the game but Kawaun Jakes' game tying pass to Willie McNeil fell incomplete at the goal line. The Hilltoppers are now 0-5 for the season, 0-1 in conference play, with the overall losing streak now at 25 games.
Though he did account for 94 yards on 28 rushes, sophomore running back Bobby Rainey was held in check for most of the game as his longest run was of 12 yards and came in the 4th quarter on the game's final drive. But Rainey added to his Sun Belt leading rushing numbers and now stands at 602 yards on 122 rushes with five scores. Redshirt freshman Kiante Young continued his outstanding play as he finished the game with 13 tackles. Also in the secondary, freshman cornerback Tyree Robinson registered his first career interception.
Coach Willie Taggart has the Toppers ready for their second home game tomorrow against Louisiana Monroe (2-3, 1-1). ULM is coming off a 20-17 win over Florida Atlantic last weekend. ULM is led by quarterback Colton Kolton who has passed for 1,075 yards with 6 touchdowns and rushed for another 178 and a score.
Keys to a Hilltopper victory:
1. Start Fast. The Toppers cannot let ULM jump out to a quick start as they did last week when FIU went up 21-0 in the first half.
2. Big plays in the run game. Get the run game going early with Bobby Rainey behind an offensive line that has been dominant at times this season.
3. Defensive progression. The defense needs to continue its progression, particularly in the secondary where they have made some big plays the past two weeks.
4. Efficient day from QB Kawaun Jakes. If Jakes can get it going early with his big time tight end Jack Doyle and get wide receivers Willie McNeil and Marcus Vasquez involved in the passing game, the Toppers will be on the right track to getting their first win this season.
5. Big Plays. The Toppers will need big plays from their playmakers; Donald Campbell on special teams, Thomas Majors from his MLB position, and deep threat WR Dexter Haynes.