Tinius kicks WKU to 10-9 win

WKU players celebrate and lift up Senior Casey Tinius after he hit the game-winning field goal as time expired. WKU won 10-9 on Tinius’ kick.

Brad Stephens

Casey Tinius finally had something to smile


The senior kicker had missed his last eight attempts

coming into Saturday and lost his starting job to freshman Jesse


But as the clock hit zero it was Tinius nailing a

game-winning 34-yard field goal to give WKU (5-4, 5-1 Sun Belt

Conference) an emotional 10-9 home win over Florida International

(5-4, 2-3). 

It was WKU’s fifth straight victory and second

consecutive at Smith Stadium.

The former Bowling Green High School standout, just

1-of-8 on field goal attempts coming into Saturday, said the game

winner was “hands down” the biggest kick of his career.

“Our team deserved that,” Tinius said. “My teammates

deserve, whether it’s Jesse or me, a kicker to go out there and get

the job done.”

Tinius got the chance to kick the game-winner after

Roy failed to get the job done on both his attempts.

The freshman had a 46-yard attempt blocked in the

second quarter and missed a third quarter 41-yard attempt low and

to the left.

It was after the second miss that Taggart elected to

pull Roy in favor of Tinius.

“When it was time for him to go out I was confident,”

Taggart said of Tinius. “After everything we’d been through, the

way the field goal had been going during the game, there was no way

he could miss that ball.”

The Toppers needed Tinius’ heroics after Golden

Panther kicker Jack Griffin gave his side a 9-7 lead with a 43-yard

field goal on the fourth quarter’s first play.

Griffin, who also hit first quarter field goals of 40

and 34 yards, accounted for all of FIU’s scoring.

WKU held the Golden Panthers, who had been averaging

404.8 yards per game, to just 180 yards offensively.

FIU struggled both running the ball (1.9 yards per

carry) and getting the ball in the hands of star wide receiver T.Y.

Hilton (2 catches, 32 yards).

The Topper defense made its biggest stand of the game

on the Golden Panthers’ last drive.

FIU had a 3rd and 3 on its own 18-yard line with less

than three minutes remaining when junior defensive end Quanterus

Smith pulled down Golden Panther quarterback Wesley Carroll for a

drive-ending sack.

That was the last offensive play FIU ran.

“We say defense wins championships and that’s what we

bank it on to help us win a championship,” Taggart said. “We needed

someone to play well, the defense stood up and took care of

business for us.”

The ensuing punt gave the ball back to WKU at its

47-yard line.

A Topper offense that had produced just one scoring

series to that point looked as if it was headed for another

disappointing drive after senior running back Bobby Rainey was

stopped for no gain on first down and junior quarterback Kawaun

Jakes fired incomplete to junior tight end Jack Doyle on second


But Jakes hit Rainey in the right flat, and the

Topper star sprinted past the marker for a 12-yard gain.

A late hit penalty called on FIU linebacker Winston

Frasier moved the ball to the Golden Panther 26-yard line.

WKU worked the ball to the 17 before Jakes spiked the

ball to stop the clock with 0:04 remaining, setting up Tinius’

34-yard attempt.

“When you really stop and think about, that should be

a kick that there’s no hesitation for him to send us out there to

try,” Tinius said. “That should be made at least 90 percent of the

time for a college kicker. 

Tinius then looked over at Rainey and sophomore

linebacker Andrew Jackson sitting with him on the media room podium

and gave them credit for the win.

“I’m just glad I could do it for these guys,” Tinius

said. “You’ve got Bobby and Drew here who were in the field for who

knows how many plays. 

“And I went out there and did one thing. Everybody’s

going to point to that one thing that won us the game, but in no

way was that the case without these two guys.”

Tinius’ field goal secured WKU’s fifth straight win,

its longest such streak since the 2004 season.

WKU also now has a winning record for the first time

since becoming a full Football Bowl Subdivision program in


Rainey said it’s been a wild ride for a team that

just last season broke a 26-game losing streak.

“We’ve been to the bottom,” Rainey said. “The only

way to go is up, and it’s a great way to end for my senior year.

But we’ve still got three more games left, so I’m not going to step


The next of those three games is a trip to Tiger

Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., for a non-conference matchup with No.

1 LSU.

The Toppers have never defeated a Southeastern

Conference opponent.

“I can’t wait, I’m fired up because I know nobody

believes,” Taggart said. “Nobody believe but us, and we’re going to

be ready.”