Taggart's Western Kentucky Hilltoppers got their first victory of the season before a national television audience Thursday night when they edged Middle Tennessee 36-33 in double overtime.
WKU got the winning points when Kuwaun Jakes connected on a 7 yard TD pass to Bobby Rainey. On the previous possession of the second overtime period Middle Tennessee went ahead 33-30 on a 23-yard field goal.
It was fulfilling victory for Taggart, the former Manatee High great who took over the program last year after it had two consecutive winless seasons. He coached the Hilltoppers to a 2-10 record and was hoping to get off to a better start this year, but WKU lost its first four games.
"I told our team heading into overtime that this is when big-time football teams step up, and if they wanted this win to go out and get it," Taggart said. "For our young team to come into a hostile environment and fight through adversity, it can be a big confidence booster moving forward. I'm really proud of these guys and really happy to get this win for Hilltopper nation."
The Hilltoppers took a 23-16 lead when Sarasota Riverview product John Evans returned a kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown with 9:10 left in regulation.
Boe Brand, a true freshman from Southeast, caught two passes for 29 yards, including a 24-yard reception, to help the Hilltoppers.