WKU football falls to UTSA, 52-46, for fourth straight loss

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 11:29 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Despite over 1,200 yards of total offense between the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and UTSA Roadrunners, UTSA defeats the Tops at The Houch on Saturday night, 52-46, to remain undefeated at 6-0 this year.

UTSA scored on only its second play of the game when quarterback Frank Harris hit DeCorian Clark for a 30-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone before scoring another similar touchdown on its next drive to make it 14-3 Roadrunners.

WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe wasted no time dissecting the top-ranked rushing defense in the C-USA. After the Tops’ first drive ended with a 34-yard field goal from Brayden Narveson, Zappe would lead WKU on three straight touchdown drives for the rest of the second half and WKU would lead twice in the first half. Ultimately, UTSA led 28-24 at halftime to keep the game close.

The slugfest only grew in the second half when the Tops regained the lead, 31-28, on a 34-yard touchdown from Zappe to Malachi Corley on WKU’s first second-half drive. However, WKU would never lead again for the rest of the game. The closest the Hilltoppers would get came with 8:04 left in the game when Zappe hit Jerreth Sterns on a 20-yard touchdown strike to make the score 45-43 before a botched two-point conversion failed to tie the game.

One last chance came to WKU on its last drive of the game. Down 56-42 with 43 seconds left in the game, Zappe tried throwing for Sterns in the end zone on 3rd and goal from the UTSA 15 and got picked off by Clarence Hicks near the goal-line to seal the deal for UTSA (6-0, 2-0).

The silver lining for Zappe though came with his 38-60, 523 passing yards, 5 touchdown performance. Zappe, recently named to the Maxwell Award watch list, entered tonight leading all of FBS quarterbacks in passing average with just over 428 yards-per-game. His longtime friend and fellow ace receiver Sterns also had a virtuoso performance, catching 16 passes for 195 yards and two receiving touchdowns - including the aforementioned 4th quarter score.

WKU (1-4, 0-1) has now lost four straight games since their season-opening win over U.T. Martin on Sep. 2. The Toppers will get a chance at redemption in search of a victory when they head to Old Dominion next Saturday, Oct. 16 at 2:30 pm CT.

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