67-66 might look like a basketball score, but it's still football season, and Western Kentucky's victory today is far more significant on the gridiron. Though Marshall took their first lead of the game in overtime at 66-59, the Hilltoppers scored immediately and went for the 2-point conversion and the win, ending Marshall's bid for a perfect season. It also quashed any debate over whether an undefeated team with a weak schedule deserves more love from the Playoff Committee than they were getting (Marshall was just #24 at 11-0).
There were 15 touchdown passes thrown in the game including two in overtime. Rakeem Cato threw 7 for Marshall and Brandon Doughty threw 8 for WKU, and Doughty led in passing yards 491 to 417. Cato was intercepted 4 times to Doughty's 2 picks. Appropriately, both teams had two receivers topping 100 yards: Taywan Taylor and Jared Dangerfield for Western Kentucky, and Davonte Allen and Tommy Shuler for the Herd. Tyler Higbee for the Hilltoppers was just shy at 99 yards, but he had three touchdown grabs.
Amazingly, in addition to all the passing both teams had a running back who topped 200 yards: Leon Allen had 237 for WKU and Steward Butler 233 for the Thundering Herd. The total offense figures were astounding: 738 yards for Western Kentucky, 708 for Marshall, for a grand total of 1,446.
Western Kentucky held leads of 7 to 14 points throughout the first half until Marshall tied the game at 49-all in the third. The Hilltoppers built the lead back to 10 points, but Marshall again rallied to put it in overtime.
Western Kentucky is 7-5 and the win should ensure a bowl bid as the C-USA has many tie-in games. Marshall is 11-1 and will play in the C-USA championship game against Louisiana Tech. Though they weren't in position to have a chance at the 4-team national championship Playoff, they were the 2nd highest-rated Group of Five conference team and had a good chance at playing on a New Year's Day bowl if they finished 13-0; now they'll likely go to the Liberty Bowl, assuming they can overcome their disappointment and win next week.