Mike White

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

WKU outlasts La Tech in record-setting Conference USA championship game

Leave a comment

Western Kentucky (10-3) became the second program in Conference USA history to win back-to-back conference championship games on Saturday with a wild offensive shootout against Louisiana Tech (8-5), 58-44. Hilltoppers quarterback Mike White passed for 403 yards and four touchdowns and Anthony Wales led things on the ground with 194 rushing yards and three scores to push the home team past the Bulldogs.

Offenses for both teams were locked in from the start, with over 1,100 combined yards of offense. Louisiana Tech quarterback Ryan Higgins passed for 507 yards and three touchdowns, but Western Kentucky used a more balanced approach and had an advantage on the ground to help overcome three turnover sin the game. Wales carried the football 35 times for Western Kentucky and was a workhorse for them from start to finish, with the final touchdown of the game ultimately delivering the knockout punch to Louisiana Tech, who would throw an interception on their final possession.

With 102 combined points, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech set a new combined points record for an FBS conference championship game. The previous record was 101 points, which was done twice. Wisconsin and Nebraska scored 101 point sin the 2012 Big Ten championship game (won by Wisconsin, 70-31) and Auburn and Missouri matched that point total the following season in the SEC Championship Game (won by Auburn, 59-42).

Coming into the game, Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz made it a point to say his team could not give up big plays if they were to get a win. Needless to say, that did not work out in his favor in this one.

The last time a school won back-to-back Conference USA championships was in 2008 and 2009 when East Carolina won consecutive titles. Perhaps in a bit of irony, Holtz was the coach of those ECU teams.

The future of the Western Kentucky program will be something to keep a close eye on. Head coach Jeff Brohm has been linked to various coaching rumors, most noticeably with the Purdue vacancy in the Big Ten. He has certainly proven worthy of being a hot name in the coaching carousel after coaching Western Kentucky to back-too-back 10-win seasons for the first time in program history.

For now, bowl destinations will have to be settled.

Ex-USF QB Mike White tweets he’ll continue career with Hilltoppers

3 Comments

Willie Taggart left his job as the head coach at Western Kentucky in December of 2012 to assume the same position at USF.  A little over two years later, the player who’s started the most games under center for Taggart these past two seasons is headed to the coach’s old stomping grounds.

On his Twitter account Saturday night, Mike White announced that he will continue his collegiate playing career at WKU.  USF had announced late last month that the quarterback had been granted a release from his scholarship and would be transferring out of the Bulls program.

Barring an unforeseen development, White, who was a true sophomore in 2014, would be forced to sit out the 2015 season for the Hilltoppers, who have yet to address the potential addition to their roster.  He’d then have two years of eligibility remaining.

Over the past two seasons, the Fort Lauderdale native has started a total of 15 games. White started five games as a true freshman in 2013, and 10 the following season.  He had started 13 games in a row for the Bulls before temporarily losing his starting job in late October, but came back to start the last two.

The past two seasons, White tossed 16 interceptions in 417 attempts vs. just 11 touchdown passes.

QB Mike White granted release from USF scholarship

Leave a comment

The most experienced quarterback on USF’s roster will ply his football wares elsewhere, the school announced Tuesday.

Willie Taggart confirmed in a press release that Mike White has been granted a release from his USF scholarship.  White had been a part of a three-man quarterback competition this spring, but decided after the last of those 15 sessions that he would continue his playing career elsewhere.

No specific reason was given for the decision.

“Mike and I talked after the conclusion of spring practice, and he expressed his desire to pursue the remainder of his career at another school,” the Bulls head coach said in a statement. “We wish Mike all the best in his future and thank him for his contributions to our program and University.”

Barring an unforeseen development, White, who was a true sophomore in 2014, would be forced to sit out the 2015 season if he ends up at another FBS program.

Over the past two seasons, the Fort Lauderdale native has started a total of 15 games. White started five games as a true freshman in 2013, and 10 the following season.  He had started 13 games in a row for the Bulls before temporarily losing his starting job in late October, but came back to start the last two.

The two games White didn’t start last year were manned by Steven Bench (vs. Houston, Nov. 1) and Quinton Flowers (vs. SMU, Nov. 15), who will now move forward with what will be a two-headed quarterback competition.

USF appears set to make a change at QB

1 Comment

During and after a four-turnover effort in the loss to Cincinnati last week, starting quarterback Mike White, the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “[got] down on himself and [allowed] teammates to see his dejection.” That didn’t sit well with head coach Willie Taggart… and might end up with White sitting on the bench this weekend.

According to the Times, backup Steven Bench has been seen taking reps with the Bulls’ starting center during practice this week. While Taggart has yet to make a decision on a starter for Saturday’s game against Houston, he again referenced composure in intimating that a change at the position could be in the offing.

“If we’re gonna be the team and win the games that we feel like we should win, everyone’s got to compete and no one can be complacent or get down when things don’t go well,” said Taggart, who didn’t indicate when he’d decide on a starter.

“If we’re gonna be the team and win the games that we feel like we should win, everyone’s got to compete and no one can be complacent or get down when things don’t go well,” the coach said Thursday. “”We’ve got to compete no matter what the situation is, and that’s what we’re looking for in our guys.”

White is currently 90th in the country, and ninth in the AAC, in passing efficiency.  White beat out Bench for the starting job during the middle of summer camp.

Bench, who transferred to the Bulls from Penn State, appears to be in line for his first start of the 2014 season. In 2013, his first season with the Bulls, Bench started a pair of games.

This season, Bench has completed less than half of his 51 passes for 319 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Despite fractured forearm, wrist, USF QB ‘on track’ to start

2 Comments

OK, it’s his non-throwing arm, but, still, that’s Jack Bauer-level impressive.

On the first play of USF’s eventual seven-point loss to Maryland last weekend, Mike White suffered a compression fracture in his left forearm and wrist and didn’t return to the game.  Despite those injuries, however, it appears possible, perhaps even likely, White will start Saturday’s game against North Carolina State.

White has been practicing this week, albeit with a hard cast on his left arm to protect the injury. Said head coach Willie Taggart, “[h]e threw some balls, he handed the ball off, he took some snaps and he looked pretty good.”

Taggart did stop short of naming White as the Bulls’ starter for the non-conference game, indicating instead that it’ll be a game-time decision.

Given how the coach talked up White for his ability to play with pain, however, it seems unlikely White won’t be with the offense when it first takes the field.

“When you have a team with guys who want to come out and play through the pain, that helps the team,’’ Taggart said. “That’s what you get with competitive kids. I’ve said from the start, it’s going to be hard for anyone with a low pain threshold to play here. Now guys are starting to notice that.”

That said, backups Steven Bench and Quinton Flowers have taken extra reps in practice this week just in case. Bench, the Penn State transfer who took over for White in the Maryland game, would get the start if the starter is unable to go.