First Responder Bowl Recap: Western Kentucky Defeats Western Michigan In A Wild, Weird Finish

Posted on Jan 2 2020 - 2:27am by Richard Walker

Freshman Cory Munson kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal with no time left to give Western Kentucky a 23-20 victory over Western Michigan in the First Responder Bowl on Monday.

The Hilltoppers (9-4) drove 36 yards in 27 seconds before Munson kicked his third field goal in four tries. The game appeared headed to overtime when Ty Storey’s desperation heave was knocked down by the Broncos.

The Broncos were hit with a five-yard defensive substitution penalty and Munson were awarded an untimed down after a video review determined that Western Michigan had 12 players on the field as it switched between its field goal unit and regular defense. We were in the press box next to the Western Kentucky coaching staff and could hear the coordinators screaming to the coaches on the sidelines to bring the penalty to the attention of the officials.

“We knew we could make the kick when we saw they had 12 men on the field and might get penalized,” first-year Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton said. “I wanted our true freshman Cory Munson to get a chance to kick it, and he did. It was a great kick.”

Munson had tied the score at 20 on a 31-yarder with 1:36 to play. He also kicked a 26-yarder and missed from 29.

Thiago Kapps’ 20-yard field goal with 4:58 to play gave Western Michigan (7-6) a 20-17 lead.

“When they have their Hail Mary team and then the kickoff team and then the Hail Mary team out there, you have to stand over the ball and give us time to change,” Western Michigan coach Tim Lester said, “and it didn’t happen.”

Kapps’ field goal, his second of the game, capped a 62-yard drive that took 5:35 after Western Kentucky had tied the score on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ty Storey to Lucky Jackson with 10:40 to go. Jackson had 17 catches for 148 yards and was named the game’s most valuable player.

Western Michigan’s other touchdowns came on a 6-yard pass from Jon Wassink to DaShon Bussell midway through the third quarter and an 88-yard interception return by Kareem Ali in the first half’s closing minutes. #BTPSports #KCAARadio

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