Hilltoppers rebound with 56-14 thrashing of Miami (Ohio)

WKU wide receiver Taiwan Taylor (2) tries to get around University of Miami (Ohio) defensive back Marshall Taylor (21) during the Hilltoppers’ 56-14 win against the University of Miami (Ohio) on Saturday at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.

Billy Rutledge

Hungry for a win against Miami (Ohio) in WKU’s fourth game of the season, the Hilltoppers dominated nearly every facet of the contest on Saturday with a comprehensive 56-14 victory at Smith Stadium.

The win showed impressive effort from all three of WKU’s units and extended the team’s home-winning streak to six games, an FBS-era record for the program.

More than just a win for Head Coach Jeff Brohm and his team, the victory also marked a successful rebounding from WKU’s loss to Indiana — the Tops’ first since Nov. 1, 2014.

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

WKU came out clicking on all cylinders and scored 49 points in the first half.

Senior quarterback Brandon Doughty was in 2014-era form, finishing with 457 yards and six touchdowns, five of which occurred in the first half.

The contest marked the third straight game in which he has thrown for over 440 yards.

These accomplishments also make the sixth-year Hilltopper WKU’s all-time leader in total yards and most career completions.

Doughty certainly had help from an active receiving core on Saturday. Three fellow seniors led the way.

Jared Dangerfield, who has been limited by a hamstring injury, also returned to 2014-era form as he hauled in career highs, 11 catches and 148 yards, to add to his touchdown.

Taywan Taylor continued to impress, finishing with 154 total yards and two touchdown passes.

And Doughty continued to utilize redshirt senior tight end Tyler Higbee, who hauled in 55 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Hilltoppers forced four turnovers, three sacks and held Miami to six three-and-outs throughout the game.

Their efforts in the first half held the RedHawks to a stingy seven points and 27 rushing yards, which allowed the Toppers to jump out to an early lead.

“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 of his young defense. “It was good to see some new guys get in there and make plays.”

WKU senior kicker Garrett Schwettman was also active; he kicked eight extra points and became WKU’s all-time leader in scoring in program history.

WKU out-gained the RedHawks throughout the contest, finishing 569-291 in total yards and 464-168 through the air.

Redshirt freshman running back D’Andre Ferby contributed to the Hilltoppers’ return to victory. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry for a total of 115 yards.

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

Game attendees numbered 20,320: not only the most for a Hilltoppers game under Head Coach Jeff Brohm, but also the most since the 2013 home opener against Morgan State.

WKU advances to 3-1 on the season and will face C-USA opponent Rice (2-2) on Saturday, Oct. 3 in Houston.