Bobby Rainey’s mother, Janice,
celebrated a birthday Saturday.
Her son gave her his best
performance of the season, then brought home some hardware in the
Rainey was named the National
Running Back of the Week on Sunday by the College Football
He earned the honor after rushing
for 206 yards and three touchdowns in WKU’s 42-23 win over
Then on Monday, the senior running
back was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the
Rainey credited his offensive line,
all of whom joined him on the media room podium following the
“They opened up the holes,” he said.
“The credit goes to these guys up front. They did their
The Topper offensive line had been
the subject of criticism early in the season, struggling to clear
running room and keep junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes upright in
But Saturday the line paved the way
for 234 rushing yards and didn’t give up a single sack.
“We had challenged those guys that
it was time to put it all together,” Taggart said Monday. “And
those guys came out and did it from the first play of the
Along with the CFPA and Sun Belt
awards, Rainey was given a helmet sticker on ESPN’s College Gameday
Final show Saturday night.
Taggart said the national attention
Rainey’s brought to WKU has been “vital for our
“Everything he’s done last year and
to this point has been nothing but positive for our program, for
our team now and recruiting,” Taggart said. “People are hearing
about Western Kentucky University now, and knowing who we are and
knowing who Bobby Rainey is.
“Hopefully a lot of high school
running backs are seeing Bobby Rainey and saying, ‘Hey, I can go
there and do the same thing.’”
Jakes fights through
Jakes put together his best
statistical game of the season Saturday against the Ragin’
The third-year starter went 15-of-18
for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Taggart, a former quarterback
himself, was impressed when he saw Jakes’ stat line.
“Look at Kawaun Jakes,” Taggart
Jakes played what may have been the
most efficient game of his career while fighting through the pain
of a thigh bruise he sustained the prior week against Florida
But he said the
pain may have actually helped his performance by making him less
able to tuck and run, therefore increasing his
“I wasn’t looking to run the ball. I
was actually looking for a man down the field as I was trying to
scramble,” Jakes said. “So it did help and pay off a little
Big production from WKU
Taggart has expressed his love in
the past for tight ends, especially the versatile role they can
play in his West Coast-influenced system.
Saturday, junior Jack Doyle, sophomore Jim Murphree
and freshman Mitchell Henry all caught at least one pass from the
position, while junior Ryan Wallace also saw playing time.
Doyle led the Toppers in receiving,
catching seven balls for 106 yards.
Henry, a former Elizabethtown High
School standout, also had a memorable day, hauling in his first
career reception and first career touchdown.
“They’re like receivers to me, just
a bit bigger and stockier,” Jakes said. “Jack catches everything
and Mitch, he has hands as good as Jack. They’re just