No. 17 Mich St beats W Kentucky 48-31, best start since 2015

Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe looks to throw a pass against Michigan State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Bailey Zappe passed for 470 yards and six touchdowns as Western Kentucky rolled to a 52-17 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

The Hilltoppers (7-4, 6-1 Conference USA) lead the East Division and travel to play second-place Marshall in the regular-season finale next Saturday.

Zappe had a 1-yard TD toss to Jerreth Sterns to open the scoring and connected with Mitchell Tinsley for an 8-yarder as WKU grabbed a 14-3 lead. Zappe hit Joey Beljan for a 3-yard TD before Teja Young picked him off and returned it 62 yards for a score — pulling the Owls (5-6, 3-4) within 21-10. Zappe answered with a 3-yard TD toss to freshman Malachi Corley and Brayden Narveson followed with a 26-yard field goal to give the Hilltoppers a 31-10 lead at the half.

Zappe completed 39 of 49 passes with two picks. Tinsley finished with nine catches for 164 yards, while Sterns caught 12 for 143.

N'Kosi Perry passed for 213 yards with a TD toss to John Mitchell for FAU.

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