Things are far from good in Bowling Green right now as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers drop to 1-5 on the year. Meanwhile in Charlotte, Brad Lambert has his team playing at a level far above what many expected from them at the beginning of the year. With the victory, the 49ers improve to 3-3 on the season.
WKU’s Davis Shanley threw an interception on their first possession of the game. The 49ers capitalized on the following play with a 35-yard touchdown by running back Benny LeMay. They then went for two, but failed to convert.
Two possessions later, WKU got on the board with a short Kevaris Thomas touchdown run at the end of a nine play, 85-yard drive. Fans saw a mix of Shanley and Thomas at QB on that drive.
Before the end of the half, Charlotte added 33-yard field goal from Jonathan Cruz to make it 9-7. WKU and Charlotte both had missed field goals in the first half.
Things then got quickly out of hand for WKU with Charlotte scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half and another field goal on their fourth. The 49ers would go on to kick one more field goal and score another touchdown with members of their second-string offense in the fourth. WKU would add one more score to their own total on their last possession of the game as Steven Duncan led a 75-yard drive capped off by a short TD pass to Steven Witchoskey.
Opponents have now outscored Western Kentucky 130-54 in third quarters under Mike Sanford.— Brad Stephens (@BradBGDN) October 13, 2018
WKU’s three turnovers (two INTs, both caught by Juwan Foggie, and a lost fumble) were a big reason for the loss. Really, the Tops’ offense struggled to gain any kind of momentum with only three drives going longer than four plays on the day. Also, here’s a song that’s been sung plenty over the last two years: WKU’s running game was absolutely dreadful. The Tops picked up just 42 rushing yards in this one.
Charlotte had significantly more total yards than WKU also. The 49ers totaled 448 yards while WKU managed only 256 yards. LeMay’s day finished with 121 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. The WKU defense had little to no answer for the junior.
Also of note, this was Charlotte’s largest margin of victory against a C-USA team since the 49ers entered the conference.
In a year where Brad Lambert is fighting for his job, this start can only help things. Mike Sanford Jr., on the other hand, seems to be visibly feeling the pressure now more than ever after the 11th loss of his tenure at WKU. The 49ers next head to Middle Tennessee on October 20th. WKU host Old Dominion the same day.