Andrews’ record night brings WKU back with 58-17 pounding of Morgan State

WKU’s Nelson Fishback runs for a touchdown during their game at Western Kentucky University on Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Elliott Pratt

It was Antonio Andrews’ world and 20,973 were just there to live in it as the running back put up 291 all-purpose yards and a WKU record five touchdowns in the Toppers’ 58-17 win in their official home opener at Smith Stadium Saturday night.

The game’s attendance was the fourth largest crowd to ever see a football game at Smith Stadium.

WKU’s 58 points were the most scored by the team in its short FBS history.

Andrews’ five touchdowns broke the WKU (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt Conference) record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game. Andrews wasted no time getting things started in the home opener with a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game against Morgan State (0-4).

The senior finished with 17 carries for 213 yards and five touchdowns out of the backfield.

Coach Bobby Petrino said Andrews was deserving of the record.

“To see him run and play the way that he did and break the record is great,” Petrino said. “He’s a guy that comes to practice every day with a smile on his face and works hard and enjoys his work. He enjoys practice and he enjoys playing in the game so I was happy for him.”

Petrino told Andrews on the last drive he scored on to “go get the record,” and Andrews said he is glad he can leave his mark in another category of WKU football history.

“It means a lot,” Andrews said. “I get to leave my mark on WKU forever and hopefully the guys behind me like Leon (Allen), Ace (Wales), (Darmontre) Warr, Tank (Marquis Sumler) — all them boys can come surpass it.”

True freshman quarterback Todd Porter earned his first collegiate start for the Toppers and all four quarterbacks saw time on the field.

In Porter’s NCAA debut, he tossed for five completions on 10 attempts for 76 yards and an interception.

Petrino said aside from the interception, which came on a deep pass as the quarterback was hit, he was pleased with Porter’s play.

“I thought Porter came out and did a good job early,” Petrino said. “He got a little relaxed and tried to make a great play instead of calming down and taking what they give you. But you did see his ability to move and the arm strength throwing the ball deep.”

Petrino also gave credit to sophomore quarterback Nelson Fishback, who the coach said has the best understanding of the offense next to junior Brandon Doughty.

Between all four quarterbacks, WKU tossed for 211 yards to go with its 588 total yards of offense.

The Antonio Andrews show started early as the senior rallied off three touchdowns in the first quarter.

The Bears attacked the WKU defense early with a 36-yard connection from Seth Higgins to Nate Ingram to put Morgan State on the board to pull the score in at 21-7.

WKU had no trouble running the ball, even from the quarterbacks. Sophomore junior college transfer Nelson Fishback found open space on a bootleg keeper from 11 yards out to add on to the WKU lead in the second quarter.

Morgan State’s field goal attempt late in the second quarter was blocked by senior defensive back Tyree Robinson, scooped up by junior safety Jonathan Dowling for a 70-yard return extended the Topper lead to 42-7.

WKU’s defense felt the need to find the end zone, but in a different fashion. Midway through the fourth quarter, senior linebacker Chuck Franks brought down Bears running back Tracy Martin in the end zone for a safety to put the Toppers past the 50 point mark.

Freshman running back Anthony Wales put the cap on the win with a touchdown from one yard out in the final two minutes.

Coach Petrino saw a lot of excitement from his team tonight, and said it was a lot of fun to see their hard work pay off with a win.

“I was happy for our team coming off a tough week from last Saturday,” Petrino said. “They practiced hard and they had a good attitude and they worked really hard getting better as individual working on our technique and working on our assignments.

“It was fun to see them come out and execute and have fun out there tonight, play hard and do a lot of things well.”

WKU will be back on the field next Saturday at home against Navy. The game kicks off at 1 p.m.