Two straight road games for WKU, two straight thrillers.
This time, however, the Hilltoppers prevailed in double OT as MTSU missed the PAT.
I half expected to see overtime here, and we got 2 of them.
MTSU came in as the favorite and I thought the bye week plus the heartbreaking loss WKU suffered last week would push things in favor of MTSU, but that didn’t happen.
Neither team was ever able to take control of the game as they kept trading scores. The 1st quarter saw the defenses prevail more than expected but the offenses got it going a little better in the second quarter. Brent Stockstill aired it out for over 400 yards and I’Tavius Mathers pushed MTSU’s offense over 600 total yards. WKU’s numbers weren’t quite as good but with over 500 yards it’s hard to say they didn’t play well. Mike White and Stockstill were both picked off once, but otherwise ball security was maintained.
An interesting note here is that either team could have won the game in regulation. Both teams had a 4th & 1 situation in the final moments and played it conservatively. MTSU chose to punt with a 30-27 lead. WKU was out of timeouts, so a first down would have allowed them to run out the clock. Afterwards, WKU had the ball on the 1⁄2 yard line with almost no time left. Had they pounded it up the middle they could have won in regulation. But, that’s easy for me to say. Both teams would have faced criticism had they made the aggressive decision and failed.
The teams traded touchdowns in the 1st OT. In the second OT period, MTSU scored a go-ahead touchdown but WKU blocked the PAT. WKU responded with a touchdown of their own. MTSU didn’t have a timeout to try and ice the kicker, and WKU nailed the walk-off PAT to win their second straight against the Blue Raiders.
The 44-43 final score means that MTSU is unable to grab control of the east, with both teams now tied at 2-1 in conference play. FIU and ODU remain in the hunt for the division title but neither team has played a real contender yet, so their records could be deceiving. However, it is worth noting that ODU does not play MTSU. The race for the east could get very interesting.
In the end, these two teams were as evenly matched as it gets. It’s almost a shame they can’t play again, as it would certainly be just as entertaining as the game we saw today.
Next week, MTSU steps out of conference play as they travel to take on Missouri. Meanwhile, WKU will host Old Dominion and we’ll get to see if the Monarchs are actually a contender or not.