BOWLING GREEN, KY. — — Home opener
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Radio: 88.9 FM
Western Kentucky had no problems with Morgan State on Saturday night in a 58-17 victory at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The Hiltoppers (2-2) built a 21-0 lead and never looked back. They scored five rushing touchdowns and brought back a blocked field-goal attempt for a score in the first half.
Morgan State (0-4) got within 21-7 in the second quarter but no closer.
"I was happy for our players and for our team," WKU coach Bobby Petrino said. "We're coming off a tough week from last Saturday. It was fun to see them execute and have fun out there tonight, play hard and do a lot of things well.
"Obviously it's a game that we should win like, but it doesn't always happen that way, so I was excited that our players went out and took care of business and did the things they were supposed to do."
Antonio Andrews provided early fireworks for the Hilltoppers, taking a toss sweep to the left and going 65 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
Andrews made it 14-0 with 11:01 left in the first quarter with a 5-yard run, bouncing through the left side.
Western Kentucky went up 21-0 after Todd Porter found Willie McNeal for a 56-yard pass play down to the 3. Andrews scored on the next play.
Morgan State got on the board after a Porter interception that gave the FCS team life at their own 23. Four plays later, Seth Higgins scrambled and found tight end Nate Ingram on the left sideline for a 36-yard touchdown, making it 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Western Kentucky responded with an 11-yard TD run from Nelson Fishback. The sophomore quarterback broke free on a naked bootleg to his left, plowing through two defenders at the goal line to make it 28-7 with 12:59 left in the second quarter.
Andrews' fourth rushing touchdown of the half was a 10-yard jaunt through the left side, making it 35-7 with 11 minutes left.
"The good part of the night was Antonio Andrews," Petrino said. "To see him run and play the way that he did and be able to break the record is great. He's the guy that comes to practice every day with a smile on his face, works hard and enjoys his work."
Before the end of the half, Morgan State's Chris Moller lined up for a 41-yard field-goal attempt, but Tyree Robinson came off the right edge and blocked it. Jonathan Dowling scooped up the ball and scored from 70 yards to make it 42-7.
"The first two games when they came out they dominated Kentucky and played Tennessee. When they played South Alabama they didn't play with the speed they had the past two games," MSU coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "Going back and forth with the quarterback would create some division but their running game was just too strong for us. We weren't able to slow down the running game, which in turn made us commit more guys to the run and opened up the seams."
Moller booted a 40-yard field goal with 5:34 left in the third quarter for a 42-10 lead. Andrews scored his fifth rushing TD — a 14-yard run — with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
Higgins connected with Antonio Jefferson on a 14-yard pass with 33 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 49-17. The WKU defense added a safety in the fourth quarter to push the score to 51-17 and Anthony Wales scored from 1 yard to make it 58-17.
The Hilltoppers racked up 588 yards of total offense. Higgins was 13-of-21 for 126 yards and two scores and also rushed for 56 yards.
Western Kentucky led 42-7 at halftime.
NOTES: Andrews tied a Western Kentucky record with four rushing scores — all in the first half. ... Fishback's touchdown was the first of his career. ... The Hilltoppers have scored on every opening possession this season — a touchdown against Kentucky, a field goal at Tennessee, a touchdown at South Alabama and a touchdown against Morgan State.
W'rn Kentucky 59Morgan St. 17
FIRST QUARTERWKU—Andrews 65 run (Schwettman kick), 14:50.WKU—Andrews 5 run (Schwettman kick), 11:01.WKU—Andrews 3 run (Schwettman kick), 8:19.MORG—Ingram 35 pass from Higgins (Moller kick), :12.SECOND QUARTERWKU—Fishback 11 run (Schwettman kick), 12:59.WKU—Andrews 10 run (Schwettman kick), 11:00.WKU—Dowling 70 blocked fg return (Schwettman kick), 2:36.THIRD QUARTERMORG—FG Moller 40, 5:35.WKU—Andrews 14 run (Schwettman kick), 2:58.MORG—Jefferson 14 pass from Higgins (Moller kick), :33.FOURTH QUARTERWKU—Franks safety, 6:30.WKU—Wales 1 run (Schwettman kick), 1:29.A:20,973.
|Time of poss||31:44||28:16|
RUSHING: Morgan State, Martin 8-77, Higgins 13-56, Brown III 7-27, Skillon 3-17, Fisk 1-3, Johnson 3-2, Walker Jr. 2-0. Western Kentucky, Andrews 17-213, Wales 11-65, Smith 4-31, Fishback 3-28, Simpson 3-24, Jones 2-19, Warr 2-3, Porter 1-1, Doughty 1-(minus 7). PASSING: Morgan State, Higgins 13-21-2-126, Skillon 2-2-0-9. Western Kentucky, Porter 5-10-1-76, Doughty 7-7-0-55, Fishback 3-4-0-47, Smith 2-3-1-33. RECEIVING: Morgan State, Ingram 4-60, Martin 4-52, Jefferson 3-20, Gager 2-4, Walker Jr. 1-(minus 1), King 1-0. Western Kentucky, Norris 4-40, McNeal 3-85, German 2-31, Taylor 2-22, Henry 2-8, Turner 1-20, Jackson 1-6, Andrews 1-1, Wales 1-(minus 2).