LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Western Kentucky continued its turnaround season with another impressive road victory. Coming off a one-sided win at Arkansas, the Toppers again used a stingy, big-play defense and a solid offense to handle Southern Mississippi 28-10 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
A year after going 2-6 in Conference USA and 3-9 overall during the 2018 season, WKU is now 7-4 on the season and 5-2 in C-USA with a home game remaining against Middle Tennessee.
"You want to peak during the end of the season, and I really think we're hitting our stride right now," WKU head coach Tyson Helton said. "Defense was outstanding again, offense did a good job in the first half and did enough to go win the game in the second half. Any time you play a good defense like Southern Miss., you're going to have some give-and-take there. Just a great team win and our guys are hitting their stride right now. We have one more to go, gotta come home and beat Middle Tennessee."
Ty Storey was 20-for-30 for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He connected with Jahcour Pearson for a 64-yard score to put WKU up 14-7 in the second quarter. His 21-yard completion to Quin Jernigan made it 21-7 Toppers at halftime.
"We know we're a good football team," Storey said. "Defensively, we're one of the best teams in the country and offensively we do exactly what we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win. Obviously, we've had a couple of games that didn't go our way, but that sometimes happens. But, we've kept battling, and I'm proud of our guys."
In between those scoring passes, the Western Kentucky defense came up with the first of two key turnovers. The Golden Eagles' Quez Watkins caught a pass just shy of the goal line and as he turned to get in the end zone, the ball was knocked away by Dionte Ruffin and recovered by Western's Trae Meadows, who carried out of the end zone.
Early in the fourth quarter, DeAngelo Malone forced a fumble from USM quarterback Jack Abraham, picked it up and took it five yards for a three score lead.
Jaquez Sloan scored on a 21-yard reverse to cap the Toppers opening drive and give them a 7-0 lead. Southern Miss tied it in the first quarter on a 60-yard TD pass from Abraham to Tim Jones.
Up next for the Hilltoppers: Senior Day at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, against the Blue Raiders in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
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