Published September 10, 2011
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart had a simple assessment when asked what was working for Navy and its triple-option attack Saturday night: "Everything."
Reserve running back John Howell rushed for touchdowns of 57 and 50 yards, Kriss Proctor threw two long TD passes and Navy handed the Hilltoppers (0-2) their 16th straight home loss with a 40-14 victory.
"When you see it on film, you take it for granted," Taggart said. "When you see those guys in person, it's unbelievable. They do it top-notch."
The Midshipmen (2-0) outgained WKU 510-277 as running back Bobby Rainey again carried the Hilltoppers.
Rainey rushed for 131 yards on 21 carries, his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game, and scored both of WKU's touchdowns. He became the sixth Hilltoppers running back to surpass 3,000 yards rushing.
With WKU down 20-0, Rainey finished off a scoring drive on which he accounted for 50 of the 71 yards with a 13-yard touchdown run. But Navy answered with its fifth quick-strike scoring drive of five or fewer plays when Aaron Santiago punched in a 4-yard scoring run for a 27-7 halftime lead.
Rainey added a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, though Navy would continue to fool the Hilltoppers with the triple option.
Howell ripped off a 50-yard touchdown run on the game's fifth play during a quick, violent downpour that hit with the kickoff. Then, with the Hilltoppers focused on the run, Proctor floated scoring passes of 44 yards to Matt Aiken and 27 yards to Brandon Turner over a hard-biting defense to give the Midshipmen a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.
WKU had just 26 yards passing in the first half, however, and quarterback Kawaun Jakes was 7 of 12 for 51 yards. He had an interception and a fumble, giving him six turnovers in two games, and was pulled early in the second half for backup Brandon Doughty.
"I just felt like we needed a spark," Taggart said. "We'd been seeing the same thing with our offense. It hadn't been going anywhere."
Meanwhile, Navy had little trouble diversifying its offense, alternating a dominating option attack led by fullback Alex Teich with Proctor's timely passes. Teich finished with 102 yards on 15 carries, and his 38-yard run late in the second quarter set up Santiago's score.
Proctor had a third touchdown pass knocked away early in the third quarter before Howell struck again with a run around right end for a weaving, 57-yard score that made it 33-7 early in the third quarter.
Howell finished with 113 yards rushing and Proctor, who entered the game with 12 career passes, completed 3 of 6 for 100 yards in the first half and attempted only one more in the second half. He was held below 100 yards rushing for the first time in his career as a starter, though.
He played sleight of hand to give the Midshipmen their quick early lead with two deceptive play-action fakes. On his pass to Aiken, Proctor got two defenders to bite and had his choice of two receivers running free behind the WKU defense, which held Kentucky to 190 yards a week earlier. His second fake allowed Turner to slip 10 yards behind the Hilltoppers for an easy score.