The 100 Miles of Hate rivalry never fails to disappoint, and the 2017 edition was no different, despite a very slow first three quarters. From that point on, both the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders turned it up a notch, sending the game to overtime once again. After trading punches the first two overtimes, Western Kentucky won the rivalry for the third year in a row after Ryan Nuss’ 37-yard field goal went through the uprights, following a missed kick by the Blue Raiders, clinching bowl eligibility with a 41-38 victory.
Leading up to the fourth quarter though, this game was defined by missed opportunities for both teams. Both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky were able to move the ball, but neither could fully capitalize on the chances that they had. Fumbles in the red-zone by both offenses were the key plays of the game through three quarters.
It was in the fourth quarter when things got rowdy. Middle Tennessee scored it’s first touchdown on the first play of the fourth to tie it up and then scored again just a few seconds later in the most bizarre play you’ll probably seen in a while.
They haven't blown the whistle yet.— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 18, 2017
Nobody realized until it was too late. pic.twitter.com/Yy0TaS0RkW
Then Mike White, playing his last game at home for Western, absolutely lit up the Middle Tennessee secondary two straight drives on long passing touchdowns to retake the lead, only to have Middle Tennessee to tie it on the next drive and was the last score leading into overtime.
White, ended up throwing for 485 yards on the night and five touchdowns. He was absolutely unstoppable when he had good protection and was able to pick apart a Middle Tennessee defense that was weak all night in coverage.
With all the time he had to throw, White was able to spread the ball around all of his weapons on the outside. Lucky Jackson, Kylen Towner, and Nacarius Fant all ended up with with over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown on the evening.
For Middle Tennessee, Brent Stockstill finished with 294 yards and a touchdown passing on the evening, despite having a tough first three quarters of the game. His favorite target, Ty Lee ended the game with 11 receptions and 114 yards and Patrick Smith caught the lone passing touchdown for the Raiders.
The Blue Raiders found their best success all night on the ground, rushing for over 150 yards as a team. Once again, Tavares Thomas lead the team with 92 yards and two touchdowns and Terelle West added another in overtime for the Blue Raiders.
The Hilltoppers (6-5, 4-3) are now bowl eligible for the season and will close their season next Friday on the road against a tough FIU team. Middle Tennessee (5-6, 3-4) hopes to join the bowl-eligible Tops in the final week of the season, as MTSU will host Old Dominion at home next Saturday.