Hilltoppers rebound with thrashing of Miami (Ohio)

WKU wide receiver Antwane Grant (3) celebrates after scoring the first of the Hilltoppers’ eight touchdowns against Miami (Ohio) during the Hilltoppers 56-14 win Saturday at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.

Billy Rutledge

Coming into the fourth game of the season against the University of Miami (Ohio), the WKU Football team was hungry for a win.

The Hilltoppers came to eat Saturday.

Coming out clicking on all cylinders, WKU scored 49 points in the first half and went on to defeat the RedHawks 56-14. The win marked an impressive effort by all three sides of the ball for WKU and extended the team’s home win streak to six games, an FBS-era long for the program.

“Our players, our coaches were on edge all week,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said. “We were ticked off about the lost we had and the way we lost it. But we understand that’s football, we went back to work, worked on the fundamentals and correct the problems that we had. For us to come out in the first half and play that well, I couldn’t be happier.”

Senior quarterback Brandon Doughty was at his best once again finishing with 457 yards and six touchdowns, five of those coming in the first half. The contest marked the third-straight game he has thrown for more than 440 yards. Along the way, the senior became the WKU all-time leader in total yards and most career completions, adding to the impressive resume of the sixth-year quarterback.

Doughty certainly had help from a very active receiving core Saturday. Three fellow seniors led the way: Jared Dangerfield, who has been limited due to a hamstring injury, returned to 2014 form hauling in career-highs in catches, 11, and yards, 148, along with one touchdown while Taywan Taylor continued to impress totaling 154 yards and grabbing two touchdown passes. Finally, tight end Tyler Higbee continued his dominate season as he hauled in 55 yards and two touchdowns.

The Hilltopper defense, who was looking to improve from a shaky performance from the last two weeks, came to play. The Hilltoppers forced four turnovers, three sacks and held Miami to six three-and-outs throughout the game. Their stingy effort in the first half, holding the RedHawks to only seven points and 27 rushing yards, allowed the team to jump out to an early lead, one they wouldn’t give up.

“I felt like we’ve had better talent on that side of the ball and I feel like we have two or three deep at each position,” Brohm said about his young defense. “It was good to see some new guys get in there and make plays.” 

WKU senior kicker Garrett Schwettman also got in on the fun. He kicked eight extra points and in doing so, passed Chris James to become the WKU all-time scoring leader in program history.

WKU went on to out-gain the RedHawks 569-291 in total yards and 464-168 through the air. Redshirt freshman running back D’Andre Ferby had a bounce-back effort for the Hilltoppers totaling 115 yards, an average of 5.2 yards per rush.

The first meeting between the two schools in program history was fairly one sided, while the Hilltoppers advanced their record against the Mid American Conference to 3-1 in the FBS-era.

“After last week, we had to go through this week pissed off,” Dangerfield said. “Be mad and use the last game as motivation and that’s what we did. Since the first series, we played pissed off and we played like that the whole game.”

The attendance for the game was marked at 20,320, the most for a game for the Hilltoppers under Coach Jeff Brohm and the most since the 2013 home opener against Morgan State.

WKU advances to 3-1 on the season and will face Conference USA opponent Rice Saturday, October 3 on the road for its next game.