Tag Archives: Brandon Smith

Final: Western 24, MTSU 62

Western’s second-worst loss of the season is in the books, with geographic rival Middle Tennessee State dominating the Toppers in nearly every aspect of the game.

  • Senior quarterback Brandon Smith made two big plays to open the quarter, rushing for 18 yards on second and 12 from MTSU’s 34-yard line and then completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Jake Gaebler.
  • The Blue Raiders scored easily early in the quarter, scoring after moving the ball 63 yards in a minute and 22 seconds on their first possession. Western sophomore quarterback Tyler Bruce threw an interception on the next drive, and freshman backup quarterback Brent Burnette completed a 10-yard pass for a touchdown that produced the final score.
  • The Blue Raiders compiled 646 yards of total offense compared to Western’s 250. 417 of Middle Tennessee’s yards were in the air, and junior quarterback Dwight Dasher was 22 of 35 for a career-high 355 yards, passing for three touchdowns and running for two more.

Check wkuherald.com later for a complete game recap.

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Western-MTSU: Third quarter recap

MTSU’s Desmond Gee opened the second half with a 79-yard kick return, and from there it was more of the same for Western. The Toppers were outscored 17-7 and enter the fourth quarter down 48-17, their largest deficit since they lost 63-7 to Tennessee in the season opener.

  • Sophomore running back Bobby Rainey fumbled after MTSU’s quarter-opening field goal, and the Blue Raiders found the end zone two plays later on a 49-yard run by Kenneth Gilstrap.
  • Western’s lone score of the third quarter came on a four-yard rush by sophomore quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who was the Toppers’ lone option at quarterback until senior quarterback Brandon Smith came in during the final minute of the quarter.
  • One thing changed in the third quarter, and that was the time of possession. Although MTSU didn’t stick exclusively to the ground, they managed to close the gap to two minutes after holding the ball for much of the quarter.

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Western-MTSU: First quarter recap

Western went blow for blow with Middle Tennessee in the game’s first quarter, scoring out of the gate with a 37-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Casey Tinius. The Blue Raiders matched that on their first drive as MTSU sophomore kicker Alan Gendreau hit a 38-yard field goal to tie the game.

  • Western punted on its second possession after inheriting the ball on its own eight-yard line, and now MTSU is driving deep into Topper territory. The Blue Raiders will start the second quarter on second and four from the Western 13-yard line.
  • Western’s scoring drive was aided by three MTSU penalties for 30 yards. Twice the Toppers went for an uncharacteristic deep pass, and both times the Blue Raiders were called for pass interference.
  • Western has switched back and forth between redshirt freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes and senior Brandon Smith, and with little success. The Toppers compiled only 26 total yards of offense in the first quarter.
  • Gendreau’s field goal marked his ninth straight this season, a career best.
  • Despite much warmer weather than in last week’s loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, the stands here in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are lightly populated – somewhere under half of Floyd Field’s 30,788-person capacity.

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Monday Luncheon Thoughts

Just got in from the WKU weekly media luncheon. Here are just a few thoughts and notes from the day:

-Linebacker Chris Bullard and wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper were made available, and the sentiment Bullard echoed was that missed assignments (M.A.’s) are going to be a major focus for the week going into Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Staying in their zones and making the fundamental plays necessary to keep the Toppers in the game will be a key concern for the Toppers.

“We looked at the film and it just proved that the job just isn’t getting done,” Bullard said. “We just had a lot of M.A.’s and guys not in the right position, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So when we looked at the film, we just have to get in the right position and get where we are supposed to be, and that’ll eliminate a lot of the big plays that are happening on defense.”

-Coach David Elson’s greatest point of emphasis going into this week of preparation is something he echoed after the Toppers’ 37-20 loss at home to Florida International on Saturday, the team’s 12th consecutive loss dating back to last season. Elson said the team has had great practices, but the effort in practices hasn’t translated into games.

Fundamentals are something Elson said he will look to in order to get the team moving in the right direction.

“That’s what Sunday and Monday are for, quite honestly,” Elson said. “And we’ll get together later on this afternoon and talk about that, just (getting) feedback from players. I’m out there at practice like we all are, and I felt like our tempo has been good. It’s something we have to look at. I don’t know that there’s anything really, really dramatic other than, like you said, revving things up and mabye get a little music going to make them focus. Because even though you’re at home, there’s still a noise factor and the environment does change, obviously.”

-The quarterback spot is still going to belong to Kawaun Jakes, who was sound but showed his inexperience at times late in the FIU game. The freshman was 16-for-26 for 118 yards and one interception as well as 16 rushes for 81 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Brandon Smith, who started the Toppers’ first three games of the season, is still recovering from a sore shoulder.

“I think Kawaun is obviously the guy,” Elson said. “And once again it’s going to get to a feel thing, once Brandon can look me in the eye and say ‘okay, I’m 100%, ready to roll’ and we’ll take it from there.”

-Elson also added that linebacker L.J. Harbison and Cooper are both dealing with concussions following the game, and the team will evaluate them as the week goes on to determine whether or not they are ready to play Saturday.

Elson is confident that the players’ concussions will be slightly more low-key than that of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s, whose concussion against Kentucky was a major topic of conversation in both print and broadcast media for the two weeks leading up to the Gators’ 13-3 win at LSU last Saturday.

“I’ll get it going on my Twitter pages,” Elson joked. “…If  you’re not, you need to start following me on Twitter because I’ll have an L.J., Coop update on their concussion, every two hours.”

-David Harten

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Jakes to start, Gaebler to return on Saturday

Coach David Elson said at today’s media luncheon that redshirt freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes will start Saturday’s game against Florida International.

Jakes was 22-for-28 for 276 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, on Sept. 26 against Navy.

Elson said Jakes was able to be successful in part because of a simple game plan and improved play from the offensive line.

“He made the throws that he needed to make,” he said. “Early in the game, it was a lot of quick throws, play-action stuff that he executed well.”

Elson said that senior quarterback Brandon Smith still isn’t ready to play due to a shoulder injury, and he’s not sure if Smith will be able to serve as the backup on Saturday.

He also said senior wide receiver Jake Gaebler will also start on Saturday after missing games against Central Arkansas and Navy with an injured hamstring.

Other notes from the luncheon:

  • Elson said he doesn’t think the team plays any differently behind Jakes than with Smith under center. “The thing I’ve learned about guys is, they just want to win,” he said. “They just want the guys in there that, it doesn’t matter if it’s the quarterback or the left guard, if there’s guys in there that, he’s playing well and he’s serious and he’s preparing the way that he’s supposed to prepare, they’re going to accept him.”
  • Junior offensive lineman Preston King made a similar statement, saying the team’s game plan doesn’t change from one quarterback to the next. “We try to play as one unit, so it’s the same whoever’s out there,” he said.
  • King said Saturday’s game, which will be Western’s first-ever official Sun Belt Conference game, has a different feel because of the possibility of postseason play for the first time in two seasons. “It’s a lot different from the last couple years, when we were just trying to achieve our own team goals,” he said. “We’re trying to do that this year, but at the same time, our goals are to win the conference and to go to the New Orleans Bowl and win that, so it is different.”

– Sarah Hyman

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First quarter recap: WKU at Navy

First quarter recap:  WKU 0 – Navy 7
-Navy begins the second quarter with control of the ball.  The Midshipmen have been all ground game today, amassing 146 yards rushing without throwing a single pass in the first quarter.
-The Hilltoppers failed to capitalize on a key opportunity in the first quarter, as freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes botched a snap on Navy’s 1-yard line to turn the ball over to the Midshipmen. Western marched 69 yards on the drive, capped by a 32-yard connection from Jakes to redshirt freshman Jack Doyle.
-The Midshipmen first got on the board with an eight-play, 65-yd first drive, capped by a 29-yard keeper by quarterback Ricky Dobbs for a touchdown with 11:05 left in the quarter.
-Jakes is starting his first game for the Hilltoppers in place of injured senior quarterback Brandon Smith, going 3 for 3 for 53 yards on Western’s first drive.
  • Navy begins the second quarter with control of the ball.  The Midshipmen have been all ground game today, amassing 146 yards rushing without throwing a single pass in the first quarter.
  • The Hilltoppers failed to capitalize on a key opportunity in the first quarter, as freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes botched a snap on Navy’s 1-yard line to turn the ball over to the Midshipmen. Western marched 69 yards on the drive, capped by a 32-yard connection from Jakes to redshirt freshman Jack Doyle.
  • The Midshipmen first got on the board with an eight-play, 65-yd first drive, capped by a 29-yard keeper by quarterback Ricky Dobbs for a touchdown with 11:05 left in the quarter.
  • Jakes got his first career start in place of injured senior quarterback Brandon Smith and went 3 for 3 for 53 yards on Western’s first drive.

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Monday Luncheon Notes

-Coach David Elson said he expects senior quarterback Brandon Smith to start on Saturday, despite a sprained shoulder suffered in Western’s 28-7 loss to Central Arkansas.

-Senior wide receiver Jake Gaebler is also out with a hamstring injury, as is junior outside linebacker Mike Gothard with a shoulder injury and lingering knee issue.

-Elson said he felt like Western had a good week of practice leading up to Saturday’s game. He also said the Toppers weren’t where they wanted to be from an assignment standpoint.

-Elson also said that the coaches have to do a better job of coaching based on knowing what the players do well.

-He said that after watching the film and reviewing things, he can confidently say that Western will be in every game the rest of the season.

-Elson also offered a message to the fans: “Tune into CBS College Sports on Saturday at 3:30 ET, hang in there and keep watching because this team is going to come around and be a fun team to watch.”

-Elson said his attitude towards Western’s current situation is, “This is fun about what we do. Challenges, and adversity and finding solutions to those things are what you live for. And I’m as excited as ever just cause it’s an even larger mountain of adversity to top and the larger the adversity that you overcome the better feeling it’s going to be, and that day will come.”

-Elson said that his three daughters and wife don’t handle losing well at all. He said he actually had to ask if he was allowed to come home on Saturday night, and he did get permission. He said his wife Kathy is the harshest critic, but she doesn’t offer advice on the X’s and O’s of the game.

-Andrew Robinson

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