WKU football blog: Murray State postgame

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Special teams impress:

The obvious big play Saturday was redshirt freshman Bobby Rainey’s 92-yard kickoff return that set up a Marell Booker score.

But the Hilltopper special teams also chipped in with two blocked kicks –- an extra point and a field goal — and senior kicker Tanner Siewert booted three field goals.

“We wanted to pin them inside the 20 six times with our coverage teams, which I think we did, and we wanted to get our return game going, and by moving Bobby back there we just know he can do some big things,” Elson said. “And once again, it’s a momentum changer for your football team to get a good return or to block a kick.

“And with Bobby … he’s really starting to develop a role on our football team, and with so much depth at tailback, so one way to get him touches is in the return game and that worked out for us tonight.”

Boyd dominates again:

Through four games this season, the undisputed star of the WKU defense has been junior outside linebacker Blake Boyd.

Boyd finished off another fine outing Saturday with five tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.

“I can’t say enough about Blake Boyd and how he’s played over these first four games,” Elson said. “Coming off an ACL injury last year, he’s leading our defense right now in my mind and doing a great job of making plays and being an enforcer out there.”

For the season, Boyd is second on the team in tackles with 24, and first on the team in tackles for loss with five. Boys also has three pass breakups.

Cooper finds his way:

After struggling to find any consistency so far this season, sophomore wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper finally was able to break out on Saturday.

And he did it in a big way, scoring on a 54-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

“I was glad to see Quinterrance get going,” Elson said. “He maybe hasn’t been playing as well and we were playing some other guys a little bit more than him and I know that’s bothered him.

“But he stayed strong and when you do that good things happen.”

After freshman Derrius Brooks went down on the first play of the game –- adding to the loss of junior Jake Gaebler, who was out with a back injury — the Hilltopper receiving depth was forced to step up.

“We thought we had depth at receiver and I think tonight showed that we do,” Elson said.

Running issues:

While the WKU running game didn’t appear to be as dominant as it has in the past — finishing with only 116 yards on 38 carries — Elson said a good amount of that had to due with Murray State’s defensive game plan of forcing the Hilltoppers to take to the air.

“They really didn’t back off much, and it was frustrating,” Elson said. “I wanted us to get our running game going more and I know our offensive coaches did as well. We just have to look at it and see exactly what we’re doing and keep working to improve it.”

Early Kentucky thoughts:

With the first home game of the 2008 season now officially in the books, the Hilltoppers will focus on another program first — a visit to Kentucky.

“I have a ton of respect for (Kentucky coach) Rich Brooks and (offensive coordinator) Joker Phillips, I know a lot of guys on their staff and have for years,” Elson said. “I’m happy they’re having the success that they’ve had because their good people, I just hope they don’t have it next Saturday.

“But we’re excited, when we announced this I felt like an idiot because I didn’t know we have never played Kentucky in football — and this all kind of ties in with the “making history” thing, and our Kentucky (born) players are all excited about it and it’s a great opportunity.”

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