Bobby Petrino led Western Kentucky to a 19-7 victory over Navy Saturday. The Hilltoppers are 3-2.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) – If you thought the Western Kentucky football season was on the rocks after the Hilltoppers were beaten at South Alabama two weeks ago, think again.
WKU hit the reset button on its season Saturday, rallying in the second half to defeat unbeaten Navy, 19-7.
The Hilltoppers defense knocked Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds out of the game with a head injury in the second quarter. That was it for the Midshipmen as WKU stuffed Navy's triple-option running attack, which had averaged 552 yards of total offense in Navy's first two victories over Indiana and Delaware.
Navy gained only 183 yards in the loss as the Hilltoppers outgained the Midshipmen by 234 yards.
"That's a good win for us," WKU coach Bobby Petrino said as his team moved to 3-2 this season. "I thought we did an excellent job on defense. We had a great plan and worked hard at it. It's something we had been working at since last spring."
"I think it took us a while to move past the (season-opening) Kentucky win," said WKU president Dr. Gary A. Ransdell, who watched the game with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. "We're moving forward again."
ASK ANTONIO – WKU halfback Antonio Andrews continued his assault on the school's record book. Andrews ran for a season-high 32 times while gaining 182 yards. Andrews scored twice in the second half. He also caught five passes for 35 yards.
"I just paced myself and had to do what I needed to do in order to win," Andrews said.
WOE IS INDIANA – In case you missed the rushing statistics from Navy's season-opening, 41-35, victory at Indiana, here is a refresher. The Midshipmen ran the ball 70 times for 444 yards and five touchdowns. The Hoosiers failed to make Navy punt the entire game.
Contrast that with Saturday.
Navy finished with 107 yards rushing on 33 carries and punted five times.
Credit WKU defensive coordinator Nick Holt, who started developing his game plan during spring ball and convinced Petrino to let his players work on Navy for as much as 15 minutes during several practices before last week. The WKU players said that the key to stopping the Navy running attack was making sure to punish the quarterback every time he tried to run or pitch on the corner.
BACK TO BRANDON – After starting freshman Todd Porter against Morgan State a week ago, WKU coach Bobby Petrino returned to redshirt junior Brandon Doughty at quarterback Saturday. He'd lost the starting job after throwing five interceptions at Tennessee and three more against South Alabama.
Did the time on the sidelines fix Doughty?
Doughty threw his ninth pick in the first half, although he did complete 14 of 18 throws overall in the first 30 minutes. Doughty finished 25 for 31 for 198 yards and the single interception. Petrino said he was pleased with Doughty's play.
DIALING DAMARCUS – Former Seneca star Damarcus Smith is still having a difficult time breaking into the WKU quarterback rotation. He didn't play against the Midshipmen. For the season, Smith has completed two of five passes for 40 yards while running for another 40 yards on seven attempts. The recruiting gurus promised more.
NAVY'S LOUISVILLE CONNECTION – A pair of former Louisville high school players made the trip for Navy – Lorentez Barbour and Dishan Romine. Barbour, a sophomore from Male, was listed as the third-team safety on the depth chart. Romine, a freshman from Manual, is a reserve slot back in Navy's triple-option running game. Both players wear Number 15.
UP NEXT – The Hilltoppers earn national exposure on ESPNU Thursday night at 7:30 (EDT) when they visit Louisiana-Monroe. Only three home games remain on the WKU schedule. The next one is Louisiana-Lafayette Oct. 15.