For a third consecutive time while played in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the rivalry affectionately named '100 Miles of Hate' needed more than regulation time to decide the victor.
The game featured six different lead changes, needing a blocked extra point in a second overtime, to dictate the final outcome. WKU junior Deon Yelder blocked a Middle Tennessee point after attempt to set up the eventual game-winning score. Anthony Wales, who recorded a career-high 27 carries, notched a one-yard touchdown run to even the score at 43-43, with the Skylar Simcox point after conversion capping the 44-43 win.
"It was a a very back-and-forth game between two teams that are battle-tested, that play a good schedule and were fighting until the very end," said WKU head coach Jeff Brohm. "We were fortunate in this one to come out on top and it was a complete team effort all the way down to the blocked extra point. That’s how small the difference in winning and losing is. I tell our team that all of the time. There is a lot of parity across the league and across college football. You’ve got to do the small things in order to get an edge."
The host Blue Raiders (4-2, 2-1) grabbed an early first quarter 3-0 lead and would build a lead in seven different moments of the contest, but fueled by an efficient offense and a trio of field goals from Simcox, the Hilltoppers (4-3, 2-1) remained close throughout and grabbed a 27-20 lead, its third of the game, late in the fourth quarter.
WKU quarterback Mike White enjoyed his second consecutive game with more than 300 yards passing, completing 29 of 40 passes for 391 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He connected with wide receiver Taywan Taylor for a career-high 12 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown.
Wales finished with 158 yards and three touchdowns, his fourth career game with more than 150 yards.
Finishing with 13 total stops, graduate transfer Keith Brown continued to lead the WKU defense, topping the team in tackles for a fifth straight game. Brown also had an interception in the win.
Up next for the Hilltoppers is a meeting with C-USA East Division rival Old Dominion (4-2, 2-0) at Houchens-Smith Stadium.