BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Reggie Whatley's 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter lifted Middle Tennessee to a 34-29 win over Western Kentucky on Thursday night.
With the win, the Blue Raiders (6-3, 4-1 Sun Belt) are now in sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt, trailing first-place Louisiana-Monroe (6-2, 4-0).
Whatley's kick return came with 6:03 left just after Western Kentucky had tied the game at 27 with a field goal.
The Hilltoppers (6-3, 3-2) drove toward the end zone in the closing stages, but the Blue Raiders' Kenneth Gilstrap picked off a Kawaun Jakes pass deep in MTSU territory with two minutes left to seal the win.
Western Kentucky got a safety as time expired.
Freshman Jordan Parker rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Raiders, who became bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
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Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.