Western Kentucky comeback tops UTEP, 35-27
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) Western Kentucky scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to notch a 35-27 win over UTEP Saturday.
Wonderful Terry's 90-yard interception return for a touchdown with 12:40 left gave the Hilltoppers (4-5, 2-4 Conference USA) their first lead since the first quarter.
Brandon Doughty completed 23-of-34 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-yard pass to Leon Allen with 7:41 left to seal the win and keep UTEP one-win away from bowl eligibility.
Allen had eight catches for 88 yards while Joel German registered three receptions for 92 yards and a 50-yard touchdown catch from Doughty in the first quarter.
UTEP jumped out to a 27-14 lead at the 3:35 mark of the third quarter with a Nathan Jeffrey three-yard run capping an 18-play drive.
Josh Bell and David Hamm each had 68 yards as UTEP's amassed 236 yards on the ground.
The win marks WKU's first homecoming victory since 2011.
''I saw them in the fourth quarter playing with confidence, and they had a little swagger to them,'' WKU coach Jeff Brohm said. ''That's what you have to do when you play the game of football. You're going to get hit in the gut at times and get knocked down. But you have to enjoy the journey and work your tail off and find ways to improve and I think we were able to do that.''
Jameill Showers completed a 69-yard pass to Ian Hamilton on UTEP's first play of the game. Three plays later, Jay Mattox booted a 28-yard field goal to give the Miners the early lead.
Showers finished the game completing just 9-of-22 for 158 yards.
Mattox was 2-for-2 on the day with another successful field goal from 29 yards out in the second quarter.
WKU's first lead in the opening quarter didn't last long as Autrey Golden went untouched on the ensuing kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown return with 8:44 left in quarter.
It was the third kickoff return for a touchdown WKU has allowed on the season.
Golden also led the Miners in receiving with three catches for 34 yards.
Three consecutive three-and-outs in the second quarter allowed the Miners to jump to a 20-7 lead with a Josh Bell one-yard score.
Doughty finally brought the offense back to life with six straight completions for 74 yards to set up a Leon Allen two-yard score with 3:11 to play before halftime.
Following UTEP's long third quarter drive, Terry's pick-6 in the fourth quarter set the tone for the remainder of the game as the Hilltoppers shut out an opponent in the fourth quarter at home for the second week in a row.
UTEP was held to two three-and-outs in the final quarter and a turnover on downs with 1:34 left to play.
''Right before that play I told the defense `I've got your back, just have my back''' Terry said. ''From that moment the defense turned on a swagger we haven't had all year. That's always great to go out there and play the game like a kid, but play it like a man.''