LEXINGTON, Ky.--The start was there.
Just three plays into the game, WKU had its first lead of the season when junior running back Bobby Rainey took the handoff 59 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
The good feelings didn't last too long though. Kentucky reeled off five unanswered touchdowns en route to a 63-28 win over the Toppers.
It was another tough loss, but there were still improvements.
"It's a different feeling," coach Willie Taggart said. "We lost and I don't like losing, but we got better as a team and we're gonna continue to get better. Our goals are still there. The only thing going in, we said we're gonna try to get better every single game and I felt like we did. Did we hurt ourselves a lot? Yes, we did. But I think overall we got better as a football team."
Defense was again a struggle at times, as Kentucky rolled up 482 yards of total offense. But the problems went deeper. WKU was penalized seven times for 50 yards. Then there was the field position. The Wildcats on average started drives at their own 48-yard line, while WKU began on its own 29.
Tackling has also been something the Toppers have harped on since last weekend's season-opener at Nebraska. It was better, but the results were the same.
"When a guy missed a tackle, I feel like everybody was running to the ball and therefore they didn't really gash us as much in the run," senior linebacker Chris Bullard said. "There were other guys that picked him up. I guess we tackled a little better, but it ca always be better and we can always improve."
The Wildcats gained less yards than Nebraska last week, but put up more points, creating a give and take with WKU's defense.
"I don't know until we watch the film," Bullard said. "I feel like the energy was there and in every game we're gonna have mistakes. We won't really know what those mistakes are until we watch the film, but I felt like the energy was there and we never quit."
Offensively, Rainey had another huge game with 184 yards rushing on 22 carries. Rainey is the first WKU running back since Rod Smart in 1999 to have back to back games with over 150 yards rushing.
"I feel fine," Rainey said. "I just have to do more with those carries than I have. It doesn't matter how many it is."
The second quarter was the biggest bugaboo for the Toppers. Kentucky scored 28 points as WKU had just two yards of total offense. WKU turned it around in the second half, finishing with 284 yards of total offense.
"It was penalties," Rainey said. "We hurt ourselves. It wasn't like they did anything spectacular, we just hurt ourselves. We shouldn't be in that situation."
The Toppers are again in the situation of trying to end their now 22-game losing streak. The goal will again be to start strong at home against Indiana next week. But it'll also be a goal to maintain that strong play. And cut out the mistakes.
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