BOZICH | Crown them: WKU beats Louisiana Tech, 58-44, for second CUSA title
Western Kentucky started scoring and kept scoring, getting five touchdowns from former Central star Ace Wales while beating Louisiana Tech, 58-44, for the CUSA title
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) — This is the way it works with Western Kentucky football:
You look at the scoreboard and you see points. Lots of points.
At Houchens-Smith Stadium, the monitors are pre-programmed to add points every minute and a half. Often faster.
Crisp short passes. Thunderous long strikes. Crackling runs around either end. Powerful bursts through the middle of the line.
The occasional field goal. But usually a touchdown.
Coach Jeff Brohm insists upon a creative passing game balanced by a rugged and determined running game.
Score, score, score -- and then score a little more. That is the Jeff Brohm way. That's the way it had to be for the Hilltoppers. They outscored, outlasted and out-entertained Louisiana Tech, 58-44, in the Conference USA title game Saturday, keeping the league trophy in Bowling Green for the second consecutive seasons.
Brohm's team scores 40 points as quickly as Nick Saban goes off on Lane Kiffin. No wonder media outlets are howling that Brohm will be the next football coach at Purdue -- or elsewhere. Look for the Hilltoppers in the Boca Raton Bowl at the stadium one of Brohm's mentors, Howard Schnellenberger, built at Florida Atlantic University on Dec. 20. The opponent will be a team from the Mid-American Conference.
His team put 408 yards and five touchdowns on Louisiana Tech in first 30 minutes.
The Toppers finished with 656 yards of offense. Halfback Ace Wales rolled to 209 yards and four touchdowns rushing, plus 53 yards receiving and another touchdown. The five scores bumped his season total to 26, second in the FBS. Taywan Taylor caught seven passes for 194 yards and two scores.
Only three teams — Louisville, Oklahoma and Washington — averaged more points than the 44 that Brohm’s high-octane offense averaged this season. And Brohm does not have Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield or Jake Browning at quarterback.
Brohm doesn’t even have Brandon Doughty.
He had Mike White, who threw eight TD passes before he was shuttled out of the starting lineup at South Florida, before transferring to WKU.
This is how it worked for the Hilltoppers Saturday:
A 54-yard drive for a 32-yard field goal on the first WKU drive.
A 15-yard touchdown run by Central High product Anthony Wales to punctuate a 70-yard push on WKU’s second possession.
Then a burp: White threw into double coverage and was burned by a 48-yard interception for a Louisiana Tech TD.
The burps didn’t last long.
Wales continued his remarkable season by scoring two more touchdowns before the first quarter was over, first on 26-yard run, then after grabbing a shovel pass from White and covering the final 10 yards for a touchdown that put WKU ahead, 24-14.
Check the numbers. Wales has 24 touchdowns. Only two FBS players have more. If Wales can score three more in the second half, he’ll move into a tie for the national lead.
The Hilltoppers weren’t finished. The fun shifted to another former Louisville high school star — receiver Taywan Taylor, who played at Pleasure Ridge Park.
All Taylor did catch touchdown passes of 45 and 4 yards. No wonder Taylor has already accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl next month in Mobile, Ala.
By the end of the half, the Hilltoppers had eight drives that ended with five touchdowns, an interception, a field goal and a missed field goal.
The WKU pace slowed in the second half. Just two field goals and a touchdown. It was still worth 51 points, a 10th WKU victory and another CUSA title
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