It wasn't the Alabama game or the Tennessee game of 2013, thank goodness. And, while the likes of Jeff Brohm, Brandon Doughty and the rest of the Hilltoppers won't say it, Western Kentucky essentially did what they came to do in Baton Rouge - prove that they belong inside the same white lines as one of the premiere teams in the country.
Sure, it was a 28-point differential, but the final touchdown of the game was scored in complete and utter garbage time and at one point in the fourth quarter, WKU was a possession away form making it a one-possession game. But squandered the opportunity. As was the story of the last two quarters.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Lets start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. Following a WKU three-and-out on the first offensive play of the game, the Tops forced the Tigers into a situation where it was going to be Brandon Harris who needed to beat them...and beat them he did on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Dupre, making it 7-0 early, and making the Hilltopper secondary look very, very vulnerable.
Video (42 sec): Harris to Dupree for a 55 yard TD: https://t.co/GWzlG7gzUn— lsufootball.net (@lsufootball_net) October 24, 2015
Even though it was a bad start for the Tops defense, they actually showed up after allowing the 55-yard score, holding the Tigers scoreless for the remainder of the first quarter, allowing WKU to stay in the game as the offense tried to find its footing in the soggy conditions at Tiger Stadium.
Finally, in the early stages of the second quarter, the Hilltoppers put together a 62-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 7-yard shuffle pass from Doughty to Ace Wales, tying the game at 7-7. It was pretty dope.
This video does two things - proof of how awesome the score was AND proof that there actually are WKU fans. Who knew?
LSU took the lead for good on a two-yard run by Leonard FoI mean Darrel Williams on a nifty halfback dive play when everyone associated with the Chrome Dome's thought the ball was going to Leonard Fournette. Boom, 14-7.
That was your halftime score, and the halftime stat that I'm going to pay attention to was how well WKU did against the Heisman frontrunner, holding him to *just* 86 yards on 16 rushes, with the longest rush of the first two quarters going for *again, only* 18 yards.
On the other hand, the stat I'm going to choose to ignore (and I suggest you do the same) was Harris logging 136 passing yards on just 4-of-9 through the air.
LSU knocked a field goal to make it 17-7 on the first possession of the second half, and then Doughty did what Doughty does, making the Tigers secondary look silly as they forgot to cover Antwane Grant on this 39-yard bomb to bring WKU within four after Garrett Schwettman missed the PAT.
Anyway, that's as close as WKU would come, as the Schwettman missed extra point started what turned into a plethora of second-half mistakes, including an interception form Doughty and a fumble on a kick return by Kylen Towner and even after all of that, the Tops were still able to make it a 14-point game with 13:04 left to play, and even recovered an onside kick that, had the Tops pulled off a successful drive, would have made the game a one-score one.
But alas, they did not, and the Tops wind up falling. Now comes the analysis, and my friend Jason Martin summed it up best.
48-20 not indicative of.... Blah blah blah. Tops not 28 points worse than LSU. Bad breaks and a few mistakes, plus the wear down effect.— Jason Martin (@GuyNamedJason) October 25, 2015
He's a poet and he didn't even know it. (Full disclosure, he probably full-well knew that he's kind of a poet). But, its true. WKU gave the Tigers a game into the fourth quarter - just like many people thought - and came away a handful of scores short - again, just like everyone thought.
We can play ifs and buts all night - if the weather was better, if Towner didn't fumble the kickoff, if the Tops scored after recovering the onside kick - but in order to have pulled off the miracle, WKU would have had to play near-perfect football, and that just wasn't the case tonight.
Onto Old Dominion next week. Valiant effort Tops, and who knows, maybe in a couple years we'll live to see the day Western Kentucky knocks off a Top 5 team.
P.s. WKU put up more points against an SEC opponent than the almighty Wildcats did. Yes, I'm taking shots at Kentucky. Who's gonna stop me?