Hilltoppers win first road game of 2014 in 36-27 victory


The Hilltoppers certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they did enough throughout the game, and actually closed one out for the first time this year, as WKU beat Navy 36-27 to move to 2-2 on the year.

Brandon Doughty didn’t quite hit his season average of 400-ish yards, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort as he went for 387 yards and two scores, plus an interception on the final play of the game that really affected only the stat sheet. Doughty also took it to the endzone himself on a QB keeper, which put the Tops up 29-21 in the fourth quarter.

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Leon Allen was heavily called upon as well, taking the ball for 102 yards on 17 carries, but was kept out of the endzone. Being incorporated, and basically trading off carries with Allen as the game wore on, was Anthony Wales, who was called upon 14 times for 60 yards. On the receiving side, Taywan Taylor lead the way, catching six passes for 78 yards, followed closely by Jared Dangerfield who had seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Three Hilltoppers finished with at least 60 yards passing, and four finished with at least 50. Not a bad job by Doughty to spread the offense out to everyone, as eight players caught a pass, and all involved caught at the very least two.

The Hilltoppers, at times, looked incredible against Navy’s triple option, but as could have been expected, Navy did have success and ran for 412 total yards against the Tops. Keenan Reynolds, who played the entire game this year, lead the way with 24 carries and 121 yards (not to mention two running touchdowns), but the man who truly did the most damage was Noah Copeland, who broke for 104 yards on only five carries – that’s an average of nearly 21 yards per touch – and he had a score as well. For a majority of the afternoon, Navy tried to go to the outside edge, but the Tops’ defense did an adequate job of containing them.

Where the defense truly succeeded was in stopping Navy’s passing attack. The first play from scrimmage for the Midshipmen was an attempted pass, but Reynolds was sacked for a huge loss. Wanting to capitalize on a 231 passing yard performance last week, Reynolds only completed three for 55 yards. Reynolds had receivers open down the sideline about five times, which would have been sure fire touchdowns, but he simply overthrew them giving the Tops a huge break.

The most pleasing thing about today was how the defense played a complete game, and there was no better way to cap it off than a Wonderful Terry pick six on a Navy drive that they wanted to head down field and score to tie and send it to overtime. Doughty had flashes, Allen and Wales could wreck havoc on future Conference USA opponents, and getting eight different receivers into the mix is awesome. This team is just about to peak, and it’s going to be a really fun thing to see when they do.

How did you feel about today’s game? What were your positives and negatives? Leave a comment below or hit us up on twitter @WaveTheRedTowel.