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November 27, 2010

Rainey Reigns, Tops Drop Finale

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TROY, Ala. - With 157 rushing yards on Saturday, Western Kentucky University junior running back Bobby Rainey passed Michigan's Denard Robinson with 1,649 yards on the season, but Troy scored 14 unanswered fourth-quarter points to had the Hilltoppers a 28-14 loss in the 2010 season finale Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

With his ninth 100-yard rushing game of the year, Rainey tied Antwan Floyd (1994) and Jon Frazier (2002) for the most 100-yard games in a season in WKU history. It was also his fifth straight game over the century mark, tying Lerron Moore (2003) for the second longest streak in school history. He will enter next season just three away from Floyd's record of eight straight 100-yard performances set in 1994-95.

ƒ"Bobby played this year the way I expected him to. He showed he is one of the top running backs in the country and gives all of us something to build on," said Hilltopper head coach Willie Taggart. "As a team, we just have to learn to finish. We lost a lot of close games this year because we didn't finish."

ƒTied 14-14 entering the final 15 minutes of play, the Trojans (6-5) struck on the first play of the quarter when Corey Robinson hooked up with Chip Reeves on a 47-yard touchdown pass as they grabbed their first lead of the game at 20-14 after a missed extra point. It was the second time the duo connected on long scoring passes in the game. Robinson finished the game completing 26 of 39 passes for 304 yards and two scores, while Reeves caught four passes for 96 yards.

ƒAfter the Hilltoppers (2-10) were forced to punt on their next possession, Troy was able to strike again, this time going 73 yards in 11 plays. Jerrell Jernigan was able to go 21 yards on a wildcat run down to the two yard line, and Shawn Southward scored on the next play to give Troy a 28-14 lead following a two-point conversion.

ƒWKU made one last drive, getting the ball down inside the Trojan five yard line, but was stopped on a fourth-down play as Troy was able to run out the clock.

ƒAfter Troy was able to drive the ball across midfield on its first possession of the game, the WKU defense responded, coming up with a stop on fourth-and-two to turn the ball over to the Hilltopper offense. Bobby Rainey took over on offense for the Hilltoppers, rushing for 16 yards and 25 yards on WKU's next to offense plays to get into the red zone. In fact, Rainey accounted for 56 of the 59 yards on the drive, capping it with a nine-yard scoring run to put the Toppers in front 7-0 with 6:41 remaining in the opening quarter.

ƒThe Trojans quickly responded, however, going 70 yards in just 2:32. After Corey Robinson completed 3-of-4 passes, and a WKU facemask penalty moved Troy into scoring position, Chris Anderson matched Rainey with a nine-yard scoring run of his own to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the opening quarter.

ƒThe WKU defense sparked the offense again early in the second quarter when Kareem Peterson intercepted a Robinson pass, and a personal foul after the play gave the Hilltoppers the ball at the Trojan five-yard line. Two plays later, Rainey scored his second touchdown of the game from five yards out to move WKU back in front 14-7 with 14:07 to go before halftime.

ƒRainey ended the half with 100 yards on 13 carries.

ƒOnce again Troy answered WKU's score, this time going 80 yards in just seven plays. Robinson - who threw for 206 yards in the first half - hooked up with Chip Reeves on a 38-yard scoring pass at the 8:55 mark to tie the game at 14-14 as the two teams went into intermission even before two fourth-quarter scores gave Troy the victory.

ƒWith his 1,649 yards, Rainey finished the season with the second-most yards by a Hilltoppers. He fell just 19 yards shy of Joe Arnold's record of 1,668 set in 1988.

ƒDefensively, Thomas Majors finished with a team-high 11 tackles, moving him over 100 stops for the second consecutive season.

ƒDespite the record, WKU was outscored by just 21 total points in its eight Sun Belt Conference games, and had 25 freshmen see action during games this year.

ƒ"I told our guys I really appreciate them staying together and never quitting. They fought to the very end," added Taggart. "We aren't happy with our record, but we are going to get there. I thank our seniors for helping us get things going in the right direction. They have helped lay the foundation for the future of our program."

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