Football notebook: Topper quarterbacks split time vs. Morgan State

WKU’s Taywan Tayler runs around Morgan State’s Paul Eatman during their game at Western Kentucky University on Saturday, September 21, 2013.

A lot of talk about the Toppers this week had to do with the question of who will start at quarterback for the team moving forward.

The win over Morgan State didn’t offer a definitive answer moving forward as all four WKU quarterbacks saw time on the field.

Freshman Todd Porter started the game and got the most action on the field. He finished 5-of-10 for 76 yards and an interception, with his biggest play coming on a 56-yard reception by junior wide receiver Willile McNeal.

Sophomore Nelson Fishback, a transfer from Butte College, came in after Porter threw an interception in the first quarter. He completed 3-of-4 passes for 47 yards and had an 11-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Redshirt freshman Damarcus Smith went 2-of-3 for 33 yards and had four rushes for 31 yards. He also threw an interception in the end zone.

Junior Brandon Doughty, WKU’s starter for the last three games, went a perfect 7-of-7 for 55 yards.

Coach Bobby Petrino said he would look at film from Saturday’s game and evaluate his quarterbacks in practice this week before deciding on a starting quarterback for the next game.

“We’ll really study the film and evaluate where we’re at, see what we need to do to give us an opportunity to win this next game and then go out and see how we practice,” Petrino said. “You’re not going to be able to go out there and rotate four quarterbacks in. We’ve got to find a way to win this next game.”

WKU looks to get back on track after win

WKU’s blowout win over Morgan State couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Toppers came into Saturday’s game a week removed from a 31-24 loss at South Alabama, a game WKU was expected to win.

After a week of criticism and quarterback controversy, Petrino said it was good to see his team come out and win in convincing fashion — and have fun while they were doing it.

“Coming off of a tough week from last Saturday, they practiced hard and they had a good attitude and we worked really hard at getting better as an individual — working on our technique, working on our assignments and then working on finishing everything that we did,” he said. “It was fun to see them come out and execute and have fun tonight, play hard and do a lot of things well.”

Junior defensive back Tyree Robinson played a big role in the win — he finished with four tackles and a blocked field goal that junior safety Jonathan Dowling returned for a touchdown.

He said the Toppers needed a game like this to get back into a groove as Sun Belt season approaches.

“Honestly I felt like we needed a game like this just to help everybody get back to where we started from with UK week,” Robinson said. “After those couple of weeks it was kind of tough on the team throughout practice and stuff but now, after this game, everything should be looking better for us.”

Toppers find different ways to score

In a game where 58 points were scored, it’s likely that could happen in several different ways.

Late in the second quarter with WKU easing a 35-7 lead, Morgan State lined up for a 41 yard field goal. Tyree Robinson broke through the line and blocked the field goal, Jonathan Dowling scooped the ball and turned on the jets for the 70 yard score.

“I just went all out and when I looked up I see JD (Dowling) running down the field with it, so that was a good thing to see,” Robinson said. 

Midway through the fourth quarter, linebacker Chuck Franks found ways for the defense to score in the endzone, bringing down Morgan State’s Tracy Martin in the end zone for the safety.

Robinson said the defense played with intensity the whole game despite the one sided score.

“That was very big because usually after the offense scores so many points the defense gets relaxed,” Robinson said. “Coach Holt told the defense to keep playing and don’t give up and when we saw that, we saw everybody still had it in them.”