Kick return lifts Blue Raiders over Hilltoppers
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Reggie Whatley's 96-yard kick return touchdown in the fourth quarter lifted Middle Tennessee to a 34-29 win over Western Kentucky on Thursday night.
With the win, the Blue Raiders (6-3, 4-1 Sun Belt) are now in sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt, trailing first-place Louisiana-Monroe by a half-game.
Whatley's kick return came with 6:03 left in the game just after Western Kentucky (6-3, 3-2) had tied the game at 27 with a field goal. He caught the ball at his own four-yard line on the right sideline and ran left while the MTSU kick return team walled off the Toppers' kick coverage.
"I knew they were trying to pin me down in the right corner so I knew the cutback would be there, I just had to trust it," Whatley said. "I cut back and it was there."
Whatley's kick return was the second big special teams play of the fourth quarter to go MTSU's way.
Earlier in the quarter, with the game tied at 24, WKU's Antonio Andrews fumbled a punt return deep in his own territory.
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