Football: Top 5 wars with Western Kentucky

Photo by Sarah Grace Taylor / Sidelines Archives

Since the first meeting in 1914, the “100 Miles of Hate” rivalry has proven to be one of the best in all of college football. In fact, Underdog Dynasty ranked it as the top rivalry in Conference USA this past June.

Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky have had many thrilling battles, especially after the two teams renewed the rivalry in 2007 following a 15-year break.

In no particular order, we’ve recapped the top five wars with Western since both teams joined Football Bowl Subdivision play in 2007.

Sept. 13, 2014: MTSU vs. WKU

The Blue Raiders had the last laugh in a boat race of a game, winning 50-47 in triple overtime.

Austin Grammer MTSU

Quarterback Austin Grammer during the Blackout game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (Gregory French / Sidelines Archives)

MTSU led 14-3 at one point, but the Hilltoppers clawed their way back into the game and traded blows with MTSU until the third and final overtime.

After WKU scored on the first play of the overtime period, MTSU quarterback Austin Grammer snuck it in from a yard out to knot things up and force a second overtime.

Both kickers connected on field goals to set the stage for a triple-overtime thriller.

The Hilltoppers’ Garrett Schwettman nailed another field goal to start the third overtime, giving Western a 47-44 lead, but WKU was stunned one play later.

Grammer threw his only touchdown of the day when the Raiders needed it most, finding Ed’Marques Batties from 25 yards out to shut the door.

Grammer had one of the best days of his career, throwing for 218 yards and a touchdown while providing 125 yards and three touchdowns with his legs.

Sep. 20, 2007: MTSU vs. WKU

A crowd of 22,086 people at Floyd Stadium saw the Hilltoppers defeat the Blue Raiders in the team’s first meeting since 1991.

WKU joined the FBS (known then as Division I-A) as an Independent at the start of the season and was coming into Murfreesboro with a 2-1 record to meet the ailing 0-3 Raiders.

MTSU announced quarterback Joe Craddock would miss the game due to a back injury, thrusting freshman Dwight Dasher into action for the first time.

In a back and forth defensive battle, Western took the lead early in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback K.J. Black hooked up with Jake Gaebler from 22 yards out to give the Hilltoppers a 20-17 lead.

Dasher drove MTSU 49 yards to the WKU 17-yard line in 35 seconds to set up a game-tying field goal attempt.

Middle Tennessee’s junior kicker Matt King missed the 34-yard attempt, and WKU escaped Murfreesboro as the victor.

Dasher completed 14 of his 24 passes for 169 yards and led the team in rushing with 53 yards.

Western was led by running back Tyrell Haden. Haden ran for a career-high 144 yards and a touchdown in the ballgame.

Oct. 6, 2011: MTSU vs. WKU

Although it took two overtimes to declare a winner, Western Kentucky defeated the Raiders to send them to 1-4 on the year.

With the game tied at 23, Western attempted a 46-yard field goal as time was expiring, and Middle Tennessee freshman Shubert Bastien blocked the attempt to send the game into overtime.

WKU’s Kadeem Jones capped off a seven-play drive by punching it in from a yard out to give the Hilltoppers a 30-23 advantage.

The Blue Raiders responded when Logan Kilgore hit Sancho McDonald on a 25-yard touchdown toss to tie it at 30.

Starting the second overtime, Middle Tennessee failed to score, but kicker Alan Gendreau got three points out of the drive to make it 33-30.

Western then navigated its way into the end zone via a pass to Bobby Rainey to win the game 36-33.

The Blue Raiders were led in the game by Logan Kilgore (23-47, 282 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) and running back Will Pratcher (16 carries for 106 yards).

Rainey spearheaded the Hilltoppers by rushing for 146 yards and one touchdown. He also caught six passes for 57 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

Nov. 1, 2012: MTSU @ WKU

The following year in Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee got their revenge and became bowl eligible due to a little late-game magic from running back Reggie Whatley.

When the game was tied at 24 in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Whatley recovered a muffed punt at the WKU 19-yard line to set up an MTSU field goal and gave them the lead at 27-24.

With 6:17 left in the game, Western Kentucky’s Garrett Schwettman tied things up on a 28-yard field goal.

On the ensuing kick-off, the Reggie Whatley show took center stage again. The electric sophomore took it 96 yards to the house to put the Raiders on top 34-27.

WKU got a safety as time expired, but it wasn’t enough as the Raiders took it 34-29.

Jordan Parker highlighted the Blue Raider offense, carrying the ball 32 times for 149 yards and a touchdown.

WKU quarterback Kawuan James threw three touchdowns and had 283 yards through the air.

Oct. 15, 2016: MTSU vs. WKU

Coming off three straight wins, the Blue Raiders returned to Floyd Stadium for Homecoming against the Hilltoppers, only to have the festivities spoiled after two overtimes.

Special teams play would be the deciding factor yet again, although the game featured 1,126 yards of total offense.

In the first overtime, WKU struck quickly as Anthony Wales scored on a 25-yard run to make it 37-30.

Cannon Rooker attempts a field goal during a game against Western Kentucky on October 15, 2016. (MTSU Sidelines/Sarah Grace Taylor)

The Blue Raiders responded rather quickly themselves, as running back I’tavius Mathers capped off a three-play scoring drive to tie the game for the seventh time.

On the next drive, quarterback Brent Stockstill found Dennis Andrews to give MTSU a 43-37 advantage, although kicker Cannon Rooker’s extra point attempt was blocked.

The Hilltoppers capitalized, as Wales scored again and kicker Skylar Simcox’s extra point sailed through the uprights to win the ballgame 44-43.

Quarterbacks Brent Stockstill and Mike White (WKU) both threw for at least 375 yards and two touchdowns apiece, and tailbacks Anthony Wales and I’tavius Mathers both ran for at least 140 yards and two touchdowns apiece.

Follow MTSU sports reporter Anthony Fiorella on Twitter at @A_Fiorella74 for more coverage.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

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