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November 6, 2010Sign-up for InsideHilltopperSports.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
There's just so much one man can do. Today, that one man wasn't enough for WKU.
Junior running back Bobby Rainey had another big performance, but the Toppers couldn't build off of it, slipping in the second half to a 17-16 defeat to Florida Atlantic.
Rainey, who'd rushed for 21 and 23 carries the past two games, carried the load with 33 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns against the Owls. While offensively, WKU had 128 yards of total offense in the second half, just five yards came through the air.
"We just didn't execute," Rainey said. "Big time players need to step up and make plays and it didn't happen."
The air attack never got off the ground for WKU as sophomore quarterback Kawaun Jakes completed just eight of 24 passes for 70 yards. Rainey again shone the brightest in that area, as the leading receiver with three catches.
"When Bobby has the ball, good things happen," coach Willie Taggart said. "We've gotta keep giving Bobby the ball. He's one of our better players on offense. We've gotta keep finding ways to get him the ball. He's a kid that wants the ball and not only does he want it, he makes something happen when he does get it. That's one good thing that we do have going for us."
Jakes didn't get any favors, with his one interception coming as grayshirt freshman receiver Willie McNeal stumbled and fell on his own before Florida Atlantic made the grab in the end zone.
"I thought (the WRs) played with a lot more energy," Taggart said. "Again, this game here, a lot of times we didn't get the ball there to see if they were running the right route or if they were gonna catch the ball. But I do think those guys came ready to play."
Defensively, the Toppers again came through. The Owls were relegated to 215 yards of total offense and seven punts. They also started from inside their own ten-yard line three times.
"We knew they were gonna come out and try to pound the ball," senior linebacker Thomas Majors said. "That was our biggest emphasis, was just stop the run. We had to come out and do it and I feel like we got it done for the most part."
WKU had only one gaffe on defense, a 62-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver Lester Jean. But in that stretch of times inside their own ten-yard line, Florida Atlantic gave the Toppers a safety, as the snap went through junior punter Mickey Groody's hands and through the back of the end zone.
But while the defense held its own, WKU's offense never could get moving outside of Rainey. The junior back became the 14th player in WKU history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, but after the result, that didn't have too much meaning.
"I'm thinking about that loss," Rainey said. "I haven't even thought about that."
But right now, that's the best thing the Toppers have to think about.