WKU FOOTBALL | Tops lose second SEC game

09/24/2016 04:54 PM

At the first SEC game at Houchens Smith Stadium, the Hilltoppers put up a fight, but lost the war.

After the game began with a with a WKU fumble that Vanderbilt returned for a touchdown that was overturned, the Hilltoppers began to fire on all cylinders.

The first Topper points came from running back Anthony Wales; a 4-yard run into the end zone with 11:06, making the score 7-0, WKU, after a Ryan Nuss PAT; it would stay that way through the first quarter.

In the 2nd quarter on an attempted 4th down conversion, Vanderbilt recovered a fumble from Mike White. WKU’s Jimmie Sims was ejected on the play for targeting. Since it was a 1st half ejection, he will not have to miss WKU’s next game against Houston Baptist.

The next WKU score came with 8:08 on the clock in the 2nd quarter- a 61-yard pass from Tyler Ferguson to Nacarius Fant, followed by Simcox kick, making it 14-0, Tops.

Vanderbilt had an answer, 2:16 before halftime Ralph Webb got in the end zone on a 4 yard run. Tommy Openshaw’s kick was good and Vanderbilt was within a touchdown, 14-7 heading into the locker room.

The third quarter was all Commodores scoring-wise. Ralph Webb found his way back into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run, Openshaw’s kick was good and the score was even, 14-all.

Heading into the 4th quarter, Ace Wales scored on a 20-yard run. Simcox kicked the point after again, Tops were back on top 21-14 with 11:33 on the clock.

Driving back down, Vanderbilt had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Openshaw, making it 21-17 with 5:29 to play.

WKU answered with a 22-yard field goal by Ryan Nuss, making it 17-24 with 1:02 to play.

The clock expired as Ralph Webb found his way back into the end zone on a 2-yard run to make it 23-24. The point after by Openshaw tied the game, sending it to over time.

Vanderbilt had the ball first in OT, Nathan Marcus caught a 5 yard pass form Kyle Shurmur to take the lead. Openshaw’s kick was good, 31-24 Vanderbilt.

Mike White fired into the end zone to find Johnson, 31-30. WKU could kick to tie it, or go for 2- they opted for the latter. Mike White’s pass was tipped and intercepted to give the victory to the Commodores.

WKU is now 2-2 (both losses to SEC teams).

Looking at the productivity numbers, you would think WKU won. WKU had 27 first downs, compared to Vanderbilt’s 19 and nearly doubled their rushing yards- Vandy had 42 for 110 yards, WKU had 33 rushes for 210. Vanderbilt ran 71 plays for 389 yards, WKU had 73 for 501.

WKU was only 3-12 on 3rd down conversions, but was 2-3 on 4th downs.

Possibly the difference-maker: Vanderbilt was 5-5 in red zone scoring chances, WKU was 4 of 6.

Anthony Wales finished with 157 net rushing yards for 2 touchdowns. Mike White went 22-38-1 for 22 yards and 1 touchdown. He was sacked once. Taywan Taylor finished with 112 yards, but Fant and Johnson each got 1 touchdown a piece.

The defense finished with 41 total tackles, 2 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.

The Tops play again at home on October 1st at 6:00 p.m.

Lyndsey Gough

Lyndsey Gough joined cn2 in August 2016 as a reporter for cn2 Sports. Before that, Lyndsey was a multimedia journalist, reporter, anchor and producer at WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, KY covering both news and sports. Lyndsey graduated from the University of Kentucky in May of 2015 after covering the Cats for 3 years for print, radio, and television for various outlets. She is excited to finally be covering sports full-time again here in the Bluegrass. You can follow Lyndsey on Twitter @lgough_cn2 and send story ideas her way.

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