Western Kentucky 45, Southern Miss 28
Trailing Southern Miss 21-7 late in the first half, Western Kentucky’s high-octane offense exploded by scoring 38 of the game’s next 45 points to win it’s first-ever Conference USA championship. The Hilltoppers have won 12 straight conference games while the Golden Eagles will have to wait until next year for a chance at their league-record sixth conference championship.
Player of the game
- Hilltoppers quarterback Brandon Doughty passed for 410 yards and three touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown. The senior became the 16th player in FBS history with 12,000 career passing yards and 100 touchdowns.
- Doughty has thrown three touchdowns in 11 straight games.
- Southern Miss had not scored less than 30 points since its 31-10 loss to Marshall on Oct. 9.
- With his eight-catch, 165-yard and two-touchdown receiving performance, wide receiver Taywan Taylor set Western Kentucky’s career-record with 24 receiving touchdowns and became the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
- Entering the game with single-season school records in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens completed 15-of-30 passes for 181 yards, a touchdown and tied a season-high with three interceptions.
- After running for 100 yards in six straight Conference USA games, Hilltoppers running back Anthony Wales was held to just 53 rushing yards.
- The Golden Eagles converted 5-of-13 third downs while the Hilltoppers finished 11-for-20.
- Western Kentucky has held a lead on 40 of its last 42 games.
- Taylor’s second touchdown catch, a 39-yarder with 1:28 left in the third quarter, proved to be the game-winner as it gave Western Kentucky a 31-28 lead.