Football notes: WKU survives ‘unreal’ final minute at ULM

Brad Stephens

WKU almost walked out of Malone Stadium with a

devastating loss to Louisiana-Monroe Saturday.

The Toppers blew a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter

and trailed 21-20 in the final minute.

WKU got back on top with a quick touchdown and then

gave up a Warhawk score with just six seconds left to tie the game

at 28 send the game to overtime.

But senior cornerback Derrius Brooks and freshman

kicker Jesse Roy rose to the occasion to save the Toppers.

Brooks picked off a pass in the end zone on ULM’s

lone overtime possession, then Roy booted a 24-yard field goal to

give WKU a 31-28 win.

Senior left tackle Wes Jeffries said it was a

complete team win, as the offense, defense and special teams all

made important plays at the very end of the game.

“Twenty-two points scored in the final minute of the

game, that was unreal,” Jeffries said Monday. “But it took all

three phases of the game to win the ballgame.”

The win was the fourth consecutive for the Toppers,

giving the team its longest winning streak since 2005.

Head Coach Willie Taggart had said earlier in the

season that his team needed to learn how to win after starting the

year 0-4.

But junior defensive end Quanterus Smith said the key

to WKU’s recent turnaround has been “learning how to finish.”

“Even in the plays, fighting to the end, trying to

finish the block, trying to finish the tackle,” he said. “I think

it’s just finishing, coming as a team and learning to how to finish

and coming out on top of these games.”

Still, Taggart said he was disappointed the outcome

had to come down to the end of the game and that the Toppers

couldn’t close things out when they had a 20-7 lead.

“We want to be a dominant football team, and you

can’t do that if you don’t learn to step on people’s throats and

keep ’em down when they’re down,” he said. “You give them any kind

of life and bad things happen for you.”

Keeping an eye to the


WKU’s four-game winning streak has the Toppers

sitting in third place in the Sun Belt Conference standings and

within striking distance of a league title.

WKU’s 4-1 league record has Taggart’s team trailing

first place Arkansas State by half a game in the loss column and

second place Louisiana-Lafayette by half a game in the win


The Red Wolves have a tiebreaker over the Toppers

thanks to a 26-22 Oct. 1 win, while WKU’s 42-23 Oct. 22 win over

the Ragin’ Cajuns gave the Toppers an advantage over ULL in a

potential tiebreaker scenario.

Taggart said he’s avoided spending too much time

scoreboard—watching on Arkansas State and ULL.

“It really doesn’t matter right now that we’re

concerned with everybody else,” he said. “If we take it one step at

a time and continue to do what we’re doing, then it’ll take care of


Still, Smith said he knows who he’ll be rooting for

when the Red Wolves and Ragin’ Cajuns meet on Nov. 12.

“I hope Lafayette whoops their butt,” he said.

Injury, suspension


Taggart said he hoped to see junior defensive tackle

Rammell Lewis back this week after missing the ULM game with a left

foot injury.

“He’s been getting treatment multiple times a day,

and I think he’ll work back in this weekend,” Taggart said. “We’ll

see at the end of the week.”

He also said junior wide receiver Dexter Haynes and

sophomore wide receiver Courtney Dalcourt were still suspended

indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Neither made the trip to Monroe last weekend.