Football notebook: Jones a surprise receiving threat

WKU full back Kadeem Jones (32) makes a catch on the Troy Trojans defense during a play at Troy University on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Lucas Aulbach

TROY, Ala. — When opposing teams scout the WKU passing game, Kadeem Jones isn’t a name that frequently shows up on the report.

That might all change after WKU’s win over Troy.

The junior fullback only recorded two catches in the game but they were arguably the two biggest plays the Toppers made through the air.

His first catch came in the third quarter. Jones elevated to make a catch near the end zone and ran the ball in for a touchdown to give WKU a 28-20 third quarter lead.

“He got up — I was shocked,” Taggart said with a laugh. “It was in coverage the guy was on him and he stepped up.

“I remember this training camp, just watching him run around. He was running routes on our defensive backs and I was like, ‘wow.’ I told him, ‘that’s what losing weight will do for you. You can get up a little higher now.’”

Jones wasn’t finished, though. His other catch, late in the fourth quarter, might not have put WKU on the scoreboard but it helped seal the game.

On 2nd-and-eight 30 yards from the end zone, quarterback Kawaun Jakes hit Jones on a play-action pass for a 17-yard completion and a first down. The catch put WKU in field goal range and helped lead to three more points late in the game.

“We just figured the wouldn’t guard the fullback on that, and sure enough they didn’t” Taggart said. “He almost stumbled there but it was good that he caught the ball and got the yardage that he did. That was huge for us.”

Jakes said he thinks Jones surprised the Trojans, but he certainly didn’t surprise anyone on the Toppers with his play.

“KD is just an athlete,” Jakes said. “He wants to do a lot of things. He wanted to play defense but we need him on offense.”


Dual QBs not a problem for Topper defense


WKU proved on Thursday that two isn’t always better than one.

Troy was forced to bring out its second-string quarterback, junior Deon Anthony, in the second half after a big hit by junior linebacker Bar’ee Boyd knocked its starter, junior Corey Robinson, out of the game.

Anthony had stronger numbers but Robinson had the scoring edge.

Troy scored 14 points while Robinson, who finished 6-of-11 for 106 yards, was in the game. Anthony went 9-of-16 for 147 yards in the second half while rushing six times for 26 yards. Each had a touchdown throw.

While they didn’t force any turnovers, the Topper defense was able to make the proper adjustments for each quarterback.

Junior safety Kiante Young finished with six tackles and said WKU’s game against Southern Mississippi earlier this season gave the team insight on how to play to the strengths of each passer.

The Toppers faced an in-the-pocket passer in the first half of that game before he was replaced by a running quarterback in the second half.

“It was kind of similar to Southern Miss so we already knew what to do,” Young said. “We knew defenses for it so we just brought up old stuff and executed.”

Of course, the Toppers weren’t the only ones that had to make adjustments. Taggart pointed out after the game that the move at quarterback was a game-changer for the Trojans as well.

“I think it probably changed some of the things they wanted to do,” he said. They had to go to their backup who came in and did a good job throwing some nice balls down the field against us. It’s unfortunate he got hurt.”


Doyle hauls in first TD catch since 2010


He’s been the top receiving threat for WKU for the past two seasons, but senior tight end Jack Doyle made the play he’s been waiting on for years on Thursday.

Doyle, WKU’s leading receiver for the past two seasons, pulled in his first touchdown catch since the 2010 season against Troy.

Jakes hit the tight end on a nine-yard pass in the end zone in the second quarter to bring Troy’s lead down to three points.

Doyle said he was happy to get the points but he was happier with the end result.

“It felt good to get it off my back,” he said. “It wouldn’t had mattered if we didn’t win. I’m glad we found a way to pull it out in the end.”