Western Kentucky edges Arkansas State 34-31

Brandon Doughty threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns to lead

Western Kentucky to a 34-31 victory over Arkansas State

Saturday.

Arkansas State drove 83 yards on its first possession to score

on a 1-yard rush by Ryan Carrethers. Western Kentucky answered with

a rushing touchdown by Keshawn Simpson and a Doughty touchdown pass

to Willie McNeal. The Hilltoppers (8-4, 4-3 Sun Belt) scored again

in the second on a 23-yard pass by Doughty to lead 20-14 at

halftime.

The Red Wolves (7-5, 5-2) battled back in the third quarter with

a Fredi Knighten rushing touchdown and a Brian Davis field goal.

The Hilltoppers scored another rushing TD to close the third.

The back-and-forth continued in the fourth as backup Red Wolves

QB J.D. McKissic threw a 6-yard touchdown pass for a 31-27 Arkansas

State lead. With 10 seconds to play, Doughty hit McNeal from 2

yards for the Hilltoppers win.

The Hilltoppers can thank a holding penalty that called back a

successful 52-yard field goal attempt from Davis, but the penalty

moved Arkansas State just outside of field goal range.

Antonio Andrews rushed for 119 yards on 20 attempts and used a

39-yard reception from Doughty during the 99-yard game-winning

drive that helped set up Doughty’s pass to McNeal.

”Wow, what a great win for us. I’m just really proud of our

players and how we stuck together, kept competing,” coach Bobby

Petrino said. ”The only thing I kept thinking the whole time was I

need to use Antonio. How can I get him the ball? We decided to

throw a screen to him and he made a great play on that and gave him

the ball on the draw to make another great play and got us in a

position to win the game.”

Andrews surpassed his own single-season rushing record by two

yards in the Hilltoppers victory, finishing the regular season with

1,730 yards on the year.

”It means a lot,” Andrews said. ”This is the best record

we’ve had since being in the FBS and it’s just another day to play

with these guys and another day with these seniors.”

WKU won the game despite having Arkansas State rushing the

defense for 223 yards on the ground. Michael Gordon led the Red

Wolves with 132 yards and Knighten rushed for 50 yards on top of

his two scores.

Two individual milestones were reached in the first half for

WKU.

Andrews’ 75 all-purpose yards in the first half moved him past

Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin for the most all-purpose yards in a

two-year span in FBS history.

Doughty’s 255 yards set the school record for passing yards in a

single season with 2,857.

The Hilltoppers’ post-season hopes now lie in the hands of bowl

executives, and the team believes they’ve done enough to earn an

extra game.

”Our players deserve it,” Petrino said. ”We’ve worked

extremely hard. We were .500 at one time and we talked about just

keep competing and put a nice four game win streak here

together.”