Western Kentucky's offense was limited to just four first half possessions and held a slim halftime break 14-13, but the Hilltoppers offense dominated the second half and pulled out a difficult 35-19 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.
The Hilltoppers posted 509 yards of total offense, including 244 yards on the ground, and converted 8 of 11 third down possessions to pull away from the Owls.
The victory is the program's ninth consecutive against Conference USA competition and is averaging 48.3 points per game against league opponents this season.
WKU improves to 8-2 overall and 6-0 in C-USA.
QB Brandon Doughty
WKU's senior quarterback enter the game as the nation's leader in completion percentage, connecting on 72 percent of his attempts. Against FAU, he was even better, connecting on 86 percent of 29 attempts. He finished with 276 yards and four touchdowns in the win and has moved into the Top 25 in FBS history in career passing touchdowns with 97 and Top 40 in career passing yards with 11,383.
Doughty has thrown a touchdown pass in 24 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the FBS.
Play of the Game
There were many to choose from, but we have to go with Brandon Doughty's first career touchdown. Following a Hilltoppers timeout with two seconds remaining in the third quarter, WKU head coach Jeff Brohm reached into his bag of trick plays. Facing a first and goal, Brohm's call was for a double-reverse which resulted in Nacarius Fant finding a wide open Doughty for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
It was Fant's second touchdown pass of the season.
Stat of the Game
On the third play of the second quarter, WKU wide receiver Taywan Taylor hauled in a 4-yard pass on a first and goal to give the Hilltoppers their first score of the game and even the scoreboard at 7-7. The reception also established a new WKU single-season record for touchdown receptions. He added to his new record total later in the second quarter on an acrobatic 44-yard catch that gave the hosts a 14-10 advantage.
He finished the game with 87 yards on five catches, pushing his season total to 1,044 to became just the second player in WKU history to have 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
With his touchdowns, Taylor now has 20 career receiving scores, moving into fourth all-time in school history in career touchdown receptions.
What We Learned
Opponents can attempt to slow down the game and limit offensive sets for WKU, but unless it's unable to force turnovers the effort will only delay the inevitable. FAU dominated the time of possession in the first half by nearly seven minutes, allowing the Hilltoppers just four first half possessions. The WKU offense continues to prove that it is a balanced attack, as running back Anthony Wales posted his fourth 100-yard outing of the season, running for 135 yards. Reserve back D'Andre Ferby add 92 yards on 19 carries.
Western Kentucky will enjoy a week off before heading back on the road for a C-USA contest against Florida International in Miami on Nov. 21.