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CMU stops WKU’s bid for first FBS bowl win in last non-Petrino game

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Western Kentucky v Central Michigan Getty Images

Interim Western Kentucky head coach Lance Guidry punctuated his fiery and emotional pregame speech to the Hilltoppers with a rousing battle cry of “LET’S GO GET OUR DAMN TROPHY!!!*

Instead, it was Central Michigan that got their damn trophy.

Thanks in part to what some have and will continue to label a questionable late-game decision on the part of WKU, the Chippewas claimed the Little Caesars Bowl with a 24-21 win over the Hilltoppers.  Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff threw for 253 yards and accounted for all three of CMU’s touchdowns, while wide receivers Andrew Flory and Cody Wilson, taking on a bigger role in the passing game thanks to suspensions for the Chips’ top two receivers, combined for 13 receptions and 206 yards.  The duo was on the receiving end of all three of Radcliff’s scoring strikes.

The Hilltoppers were playing in their first bowl game at the FBS level.

Both CMU and WKU finish the season at 7-6, although it could’ve been a vastly different won-loss scenario had the final minute-plus played out differently.

After CMU went up 24-21 with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter, WKU drove down to the Chips’ 19-yard line with just over a minute to play.  Facing a fourth and two, the Hilltoppers called a timeout with :51 to discuss going for it or kicking what would’ve been a 36-yard field goal attempt that could’ve sent the game into overtime.  Landry opted for the former option and played for the win; defeat and the loss of the damn trophy became the reality as quarterback Kawaun Jakes‘ pass sailed incomplete.

For those screaming at your TV screen at the time or at your monitor at the moment that they should’ve kicked the “automatic” field goal to tie the game, WKU’s kicker was just 2-of-5 this season on kicks beyond 30 yards.  Personally, I applaud Guidry grabbing his post-Christmas jingle bells and going for the win — the play-call, on the other hand, left him open to criticism — but your mileage may vary.

Entering the game, the overriding storyline was WKU running back Antonio Andrews chasing history.  With 2,997 all-purpose yards, Andrews was just 274 yards behind the single-season mark set by Barry Sanders in 1988 during the legend’s final season at Oklahoma State.  Alas, Sanders’ record is safe for another season as Andrews finished the game with 184 yards — 119 rushing, 21 receiving, 40 on kick returns and four on punt returns.

Additionally, the game’s end marked the official beginning of the Bobby Petrino era at WKU.  The former Arkansas head coach, who left the Razorbacks in disgrace this past spring, was hired to replace Willie Taggart, who left the Hilltoppers to take over at USF.  Petrino was expected to be at the game, but travel issues prevented him from being there and no a motorcycle wasn’t involved so just stop it right now.

(*yes, Guidry screamed in italicized all-caps.  And exclamation points.)

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9 Responses to “CMU stops WKU’s bid for first FBS bowl win in last non-Petrino game”
  1. connorbcox says: Dec 26, 2012 11:35 PM

    I know we all enjoyed a gutsy call, but give your team a chance to win the game. I guess that’s why he’s an interim head coach. Good game.

  2. manchestermiracle says: Dec 27, 2012 12:23 AM

    Wasn’t this supposed to be another of those boring, no-name bowl games with teams that didn’t belong? Except for all the early penalties, it was pretty well played and certainly better than many on here predicted.

  3. truwarier90 says: Dec 27, 2012 1:40 AM

    did petrino ride a with another blonde chick?

  4. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 27, 2012 2:59 AM

    This is another bowl game I enjoyed watching. Good competition, well matched teams. No second guessing, he played to win. I see the other side as well, but a gutsy call.

  5. rgl681 says: Dec 27, 2012 3:37 AM

    The Nebraska Huskers came into the 1984 Orange Bowl ranked No. 1, with coach Tom Osborne going for his first national title.

    With 48 seconds left, Osborne went for 2 points after a touchdown for a win rather than kick an extra point for a tie(no overtime back then) and a national co-championship. The team ended up ranked #2.

    He never had regrets and it took him many years before he got his 3 national championships.

    ESPN put it high on the list of gutsiest calls in sports.

  6. Gabbo says: Dec 27, 2012 11:10 AM

    It’s not really a gutsy call. By going for it, you are more likely to win than lose. In many cases, going for it on 4th down is generally the better option. As for Nebraska going for 2, most teams should always go for 2.

    In both cases, it’s because people are afraid of bad outcomes, that they chicken out and don’t see the upside.

  7. connorbcox says: Dec 27, 2012 1:45 PM

    How is it not a gutsy call? If you don’t get it you automatically lose the game. If you attempt the field goal, you are giving your team a chance to win the game. It’s a high risk, high reward scenario.

  8. florida727 says: Dec 28, 2012 10:20 AM

    I applaud the guy for going for the win, but it’s a stretch to call it a ‘gutsy’ move. They had a chance to do something for the first time: win an FBS bowl trophy. I’ll give him that. However, couple that with the fact that as interim coach, he had (literally) nothing to lose, and it takes the luster off of the gutsy label. If he loses the game, which he obviously did, everyone will applaud him for going for it. Had he won, he’d be a hero at WKU. He had nothing to lose, because the job belongs to Petrino regardless. That’s your argument for why it was NOT that gutsy of a call. What did he have on the line? Nothing, really. Everything to gain, virtually nothing to lose. Best part: it was an easy thing to sell in the locker room after the game. “Guys, I’m proud of you. We went for it. We came up short, but you showed your true character. You’re champions in my book. Blah, blah, blah.” See how easy that is?

  9. 4512dawg4512 says: Jul 22, 2013 5:13 AM

    I really wish they would have hired Guidry as head coach. The sooner Petrino is out of here the better

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