By MIKE SMITH
BOWLING GREEN, KY -- For anyone who hadn’t previously seen Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty in action, his first half performance against the Miami RedHawks Saturday might have come across as stunning. Those who have seen him, however, might have considered it another huge day at the office.
The sixth-year senior tossed five first half TDs and added one more in the second half as the Hilltoppers drubbed visiting Miami, 56-14, at Houchens-Smith Stadium. The score was 49-7 after WKU scored on a Doughty four-yard pass to Tyler Higby with 10 seconds remaining in the period.
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As usual, Doughty spread both the field and the wealth. Jared Dangerfield led Hilltopper receivers with 11 receptions for 148 yards and a score, while Taywan Taylor turned nine catches into 154 yards and two TDs.
Adding to the Hilltoppers arsenal was a 115-yard rushing day by 6-1, 240-pound D’Andre Ferby. He moved into the starting lineup due to a senior running back’s injury and gives WKU some punch to compliment an often devastating pass game.
Miami, on the other hand, struggled in both phases of offense – particularly early. There were similar struggles late against Cincinnati a week earlier, but UC turnovers kept the Bearcats from capitalizing until a final TD drive to win the game.
Western Kentucky not only did not commit a turnover, it generated four out of Miami. They halted MU possessions and provided 14 points for the Hilltoppers’ cause. Freshman quarterback Billy Bahl threw three picks while completing 4 of 11 on the day. The RedHawks also lost one fumble.
Senior Drew Kummer, who again got the start for MU and remains part of a QB combo in use this year, completed 7 of 12 for 78 yards and one touchdown. Gus Ragland, another freshman quarterback managed to throw a late toucdown and picked up 43 yards on six rushes. Miami netted 140 yards rushing, with a good chunk of it in the second half.
Western Kentucky, which scored touchdowns on seven of nine first half possessions, went to work right following the opening kickoff. Doughty completed all seven passes in a 10-play drive, with Antwane Grant hauling in a nine-yard pass for the score.
Miami failed to gain a yard on its first possession, so WKU took over and then gained 59 yards on one play. A flea-flicker toss back and throw by Doughty to Taylor down the middle took it the distance.
Doughty completed six of seven on the next Hilltopper scoring drive. The big one went to Taylor, who made a diving catch for a 43-yard gain that set WKU up at the four. Taylor came free on the left side of the end zone two plays later for another TD reception.
Miami hd the ball for 4:26 of the first quarter, while Western Kentucky used 10:34 to do its work.
As well as it had gone for WKU in the first quarter, it went even better in the second stanza. After a punt 15 seconds into the period, Western scored touchdowns on four straight possessions.
Down 28-7 with 6:31 remaining in the half, MU went for an on-side kick. Western recovered and put up a rushing TD of the day when wide receiver Nicholas Norris skirted right end on a four-yard run.
Anthony Davis added a one-yard TD run with 1:00 to make it 42-7, and when Miami fumbled three plays into its next possession, WKU got one more chance to score.
Doughty immediately hit Higbee for a 26-yard gain to the RedHawks eight. Thrree plays later, Higbee took a four-yard pass from Doughty for a score with 10 seconds left. That made it 49-7 at the half.
Doughty finished a 98-yard drive with an eight-yard pass to Higbee for for the Hilltoppers’ last score at 13:10 of the fourth quarter. Miami posted the game’s final touchdown as Ragland found Ryan Smith on a 16-yard TD play to complete a 10-play, 77-yard drive at the at the 7:28 mark.
Miami opens MAC play next week at Kent State.