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.
Josh Rosen pass complete to Thomas Duarte for 19 yds for a TD (Ka'imi Fairbairn KICK)
Joshua Dobbs run for 22 yds to the Vandy 21 for a 1ST down
Taylor Lamb pass complete to Michael Moll for 2 yds for a TD
Gerald Holmes run for 6 yds for a TD
Nick Mullens threw three touchdown passes and Ito Smith ran for three scores and Southern Mississippi rolled to a 58-24 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday to clinch the Conference USA West D