What is defense? Hilltoppers win shootout for first C-USA victory


Chances are, if you’re an old-school football fan, or a fan of any sort of defense, you were offended by the performance of the Hilltoppers and Monarchs. However, if you miss the days of the Arena Football League, then chances are you loved it, as WKU and ODU took a 42-30 score in to halftime, en route to a 66-51 victory for the Hilltoppers first ever conference win as a member of Conference USA.

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In a game that featured three 500+ yard rushers, it was the passing game that was the story for both teams.

Brandon Doughty

threw just three incompletions in 26 attempts for 371 yards and five touchdowns, breaking the single-season touchdown record set by

Kawaun Jakes

in 2012 (previous record was 22). His Monarch counterpart,

Taylor Heinicke

threw for 100 more yards on only four more completions, finding the endzone three times and throwing a pair of interceptions – the second of which completely changed the game.

In the fourth quarter and a five-point Hilltopper lead, ODU was marching down the field after a Mitchell Henry turnover. From the three yardline, Heinicke went back to pass, attempted to pump fake, but it slipped out of his hands, and into the hands of Juwan Gardner, who proceeded to take it all the way to the house – a 98 yard pick-six – to all but seal the deal for the Hilltoppers. So much irony in the fact that the play of the game was a defensive one.

The two offenses combined for 1,244 yards, and both Leon Allen (182 yards on 32 carries) and Ray Lawry (148 yards on 25 carries) rushed for over 100 yards. Heinicke loved finding Antonio Vaughan, as he finished the day with 220 yards in only six catches…yeah, that was a bit ridiculous.

The defense for the Tops, as usual, wasn’t good, but they did enough to get the win. The Tops once again had troubles getting off the field, allowing ODU to convert 8 of 13 3rd downs, and another day of perfect fourth-down conversions, going 2 for 2.

It wasn’t a pretty win, by any means, but the offense looked phenomenal, and while Louisiana Tech will be a challenge, the momentum from this win certainly helps.