Western Kentucky Wins Second Straight Conference USA Title With 58-44 Win Over Louisiana Tech

In a game that looked headed for the FBS scoring record at one point, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers snagged their second straight Conference USA title with a 58-44 win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

It was a wild game that saw 102 total points scored, 61 in the first half, between the two best teams all season long in CUSA. Quarterback Mike White of WKU only attempted 32 passes, but still had 436 yards and four touchdowns on the day. He didn’t need to pass any more that because running back Anthony Wales was magnificent with 194 yards and three touchdowns on a season-high 35 carries. Before today, Wales’ season-high was 27 carries for 158 yards versus Middle Tennessee.

Rather than describe the action of the opening half, a look at the drive summaries does a much better job.

    • WKU: Field Goal
    • La. Tech: Field Goal
    • WKU: Touchdown
    • La. Tech: Punt
    • WKU: Interception Touchdown by La. Tech
    • WKU: Touchdown
    • La. Tech: Touchdown
    • WKU: Touchdown
  • La. Tech: Touchdown
  • WKU: Touchdown
  • La. Tech: Field Goal
  • WKU: Touchdown
  • La. Tech: Punt
  • WKU: Missed Field Goal
  • La. Tech: End of Half

That is 15 total possessions with 11 ending in some sort of score. The eight touchdowns scored in the first half were four more than were scored in the entire AAC title game between Temple and Navy. It was a tour de force of offense that looked to be headed for another 30 minutes of non-*stop action.

It looked like Louisiana Tech had finally stolen momentum in the opening minutes of the second half. They drove 65 yard in five plays to pull within 38-34 and immediately got the ball back on a fumbled kickoff return by the Hilltoppers. Seven plays later, they were in the endzone once again and leading 41-38.

Like a championship squad, WKU immediately responded with a field goal to tie the game, stopped the Bulldogs on defense, and then let their workhorse running back give them the lead once again at 48-41. They later added a field goal to take a ten point lead and nearly put the game out of reach.

If there were any doubt, WKU systematically moved downfield one last time versus the Bulldogs defense with Wales adding his final score of the night for a 58-44 final tally.

With the loss, Louisiana Tech has to sit for several weeks on a two-game losing streak to end the season. They have been mentioned in connection with several different bowls and will find out soon where they are destined to play.

For WKU, they were able to avenge one of their three losses on the season, get to ten wins once again, and win their second straight CUSA title. Before Jeff Brohm took over for Bobby Petrion in 2014, the best record WKU had at the FBS level was 8-4. He has now led the Hilltoppers to back to back double digit winning seasons, a feat that has never been accomplished in school history.

Brohm is likely to get the full court press from several suitors, but has stated on multiple occasions that he is only going to leave WKU for the right job. That’s right Purdue, keep on walking. Unless he is considered for Oregon or another high-profile job comes up in the next few weeks, it is likely that WKU will have their leader for one more year.

Figuring out the bowl destination for the Hilltoppers is a much tougher proposition. They should end up in a good CUSA bowl, but some of the top destinations are not as good as in previous years, namely the Heart of Dallas bowl. It shouldn’t be a long wait for the WKU faithful to hear news about a bowl berth, but hopefully the matchup is a game they deserve (Temple/WKU in the Boca Raton Bowl).

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