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 is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News. You can catch Lyndsey’s work on Sports Night, the only nightly show dedicated to covering everything from high school to college sports in Kentucky. She loves covering all sports but it’s the personal stories that really stand out to Lyndsey, like the story of a community coming together to remember high school track start Trinity Gay who was killed. Lyndsey came to Spectrum News from WBKO in Bowling Green where she was an Anchor, Reporter and Producer covering news and sports. She’s a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of UK. Sports Night airs at 6:30 and 10:30 weeknights on Spectrum News. If you have a story idea for Lyndsey email her at Lyndsey.gough@charter.com.

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