It was a cool, cloudy day in Bowling Green, Ky. as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers took on the Charlotte 49ers in Conference USA action.
The game marked WKU’s homecoming and the crowd came out in full force. But in the end (30-14) it was the fourth straight loss for the 49ers (2-5, 0-3 C-USA). The Hilltoppers (5-2, 4-0) remain in first place in the league’s East Division.
Home fires burning
Quarterback Chris Reynolds lead an opening game-scoring drive, going 3-4 for 32 yards and running for 18 yards. Ishod Finger capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown. Ty Storey was 6/7 for 73 yards and a touchdown strike to Jahcour Pearson.
The Hilltoppers gave the homecoming crowd something to cheer about as they answered back with a touchdown drive of their own. The drive was fueled by the run game and quick pass game.
As the second quarter action approached, Reynolds connected to Victor Tucker for 26 yards, but penalty’s pushed the 49ers offense back. WKU’s defense came out in the second with an extra gear forcing a 3 and out.
After the change of possession, a flea-flicker pass play went to Lucky Jackson for a 69 yards touchdown. Reynolds to Tucker for 31 yards. The 49ers tried their trickeration to no avail.
The penalty’s once again stalled the 49ers as WKU pass rushed was unleashed for a sack. Reynolds to Benny Lemay. WKU scored a field goal, but missed their second attempt. The Hilltoppers took a 17-14 lead into halftime.
Taking the Hill
Quarterback Ty Storey, a grad transfer from Arkansas, threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass to lead the Hilltoppers. WKU’s defense held Charlotte’s Benny LeMay, C-USA’s leading rusher entering the game, to 45 yards on 14 carries. LeMay also caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
During the third quarter, a close game became a blowout. Mistakes cost the 49ers. WKU blocked a Charlotte punt, which leads to a field goal. Reynolds then threw an interception to Roger Cray, which leads to a scoring drive to take a 23-14 WKU lead.
The Hilltoppers scored again late in the third quarter as both teams stalled in the 4th with no scores. WKU plays Marshall next as they seek to return to a bowl game after a terrible season last year.