Arkansas State at Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky edges Arkansas State 34-31


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) 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.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Related Video

Scoring Summary
ARKSTRyan Carrethers 1 yd run (Brian Davis kick)
WKYKeshawn Simpson 1 yd run (Garrett Schwettman kick)
WKYWillie McNeal 24 yd pass from Brandon Doughty (Garrett Schwettman kick)
WKYNicholas Norris 23 yd pass from Brandon Doughty (missed kick)
ARKSTFredi Knighten 1 yd run (Brian Davis kick)
ARKSTFredi Knighten 8 yd run (Brian Davis kick)
ARKSTBrian Davis 45 yd FG
WKYAntonio Andrews 2 yd run (Garrett Schwettman kick)
ARKSTJulian Jones 6 yd pass from J.D. McKissic (Brian Davis kick)
WKYWillie McNeal 2 yd pass from Brandon Doughty (Garrett Schwettman kick)
Team Stats
First Downs2422
Third Down Efficiency11-165-11
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-1
Plays-Net Yards81-35765-406
Passing Yds134255
Kick Return Yds81112
Punt Return Yds010
Time of Poss.35:1024:50
Individual Stats
ARKST: Michael Gordon 19-132, Fredi Knighten 12-47, David Oku 9-18, Sirgregory Thornton 4-13, J.D. McKissic 1-7, Adam Kennedy 6-5, Ryan Carrethers 1-1, Team 1-0
WKY: Antonio Andrews 20-119, Keshawn Simpson 4-32, Leon Allen 1-4, Brandon Doughty 3--4
ARKST: Fredi Knighten 11-17-61-0, Adam Kennedy 7-10-67-1, J.D. McKissic 1-1-6-0
WKY: Brandon Doughty 21-37-255-0
ARKST: J.D. McKissic 7-35, Michael Gordon 3-12, R.J. Fleming 2-39, Julian Jones 2-16, Tres Houston 2-14, David Oku 2-2, Allen Muse 1-16
WKY: Willie McNeal 5-57, Antonio Andrews 4-58, Nicholas Norris 4-39, Tim Gorski 2-22, Jamarielle Brown 2-17, Leon Allen 2-10, Mitchell Henry 1-31, Taywan Taylor 1-21
Arkansas State1st Sun Belt 7-18-5
Western Kentucky1st Conference USA East7-111-3

CBSSports Shop