Football

Hilltoppers bowl eligible following rout

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers fans watch during a game against the Navy Midshipmen at Houchens-Smith Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Bowling Green, Ky. (Alex Slitz/Daily News)
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers fans watch during a game against the Navy Midshipmen at Houchens-Smith Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Bowling Green, Ky. (Alex Slitz/Daily News) Daily News

BOWLING GREEN — Western Kentucky Coach Jeff Brohm believes his team is playing its best football of the season, and the numbers speak for themselves.

Brandon Doughty completed 26 of 35 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns Saturday and Western Kentucky blew by Texas-San Antonio 45-7.

Western Kentucky's 466 yards of offense set a school record for total yards in a season with 5,565.

Doughty threw TD passes to four receivers, including a 67-yarder to Willie McNeal for a 21-0 WKU lead. McNeal led all receivers with 105 yards on seven receptions.

Jared Dangerfield caught two TD passes, his second coming on a 16-yarder from Doughty, which gave the quarterback his 50th career touchdown pass.

The Roadrunners (3-8, 2-5 Conference USA) were held to 234 yards and avoided the shutout with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Strum to Kenny Thomas with 8:49 left to play.

WKU (6-5, 3-4) had shut out its opponents in the fourth quarter in the last three home contests before UTSA's late touchdown. The Roadrunners offensive total was the lowest allowed by WKU this season, a trend that has progressed week by week. The Hilltoppers allowed 333 last week to Army and 394 to UTEP.

"They stopped us at times, but when your defense is playing well like that you're going to get the ball back," Brohm said. "We try to talk about if all three units can play well and do what they're supposed to do and we play hard and keep fighting then you're going to have the chance to win it."

Garrett Schwettman added a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and senior Demetrius Coley scored his first touchdown since his freshman year with a 2-yard run with 1:53 remaining. That score came after the Roadrunners' fourth penalty of the fourth quarter, giving them 12 penalties for 124 yards.

The win makes the Hilltoppers bowl eligible for the fourth straight season, but WKU has been invited to the postseason only once in the last three years. It's much of the reason why WKU made the jump to Conference USA, which offers five guaranteed bowl tie-ins, while the Sun Belt Conference only promised two.

"All of us think about it in the back of our head, but we really don't talk about it," Brohm said. "We've definitely been in the playoff mentality. Our guys have responded and they've looked forward to it."

Doughty finished his senior campaign at home having thrown 24 touchdown passes without an interception on a 74.6 completion percentage at Smith Stadium. WKU takes its three-game win streak into the season finale against undefeated Marshall on Friday.

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