BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) Western Kentucky needed just two convincing quarters of football to put away Conference USA rival Middle Tennessee on Saturday and put a smile on Coach Jeff Brohm's face.
The Hilltoppers scored on eight of their first 10 possessions, dominating the first half with 52 points en route to a 58-28 victory over Middle Tennessee to remain unbeaten in conference play.
''That one feels good,'' Brohm said. ''I'm not going to lie. That's a very rewarding victory. We felt Middle Tennessee was a very good football team, and we still think they are. For our guys to come out in the first half and play like that, I couldn't be any happier.''
Quarterback Brandon Doughty led Western Kentucky, (5-1, 3-0) by throwing all five of his touchdown passes in the first half. The Hilltoppers put up 484 yards of total offense in the first half, including 402 yards passing. The Hilltoppers finished with 593 yards of total offense in sending Middle Tennessee (2-4, 1-1) to its third straight loss.
''Just to be able to click like that in the first half, that's what's important and encouraging going forward,'' Doughty said. ''That's a good defense. We really played a heck of a game. Coach called a heck of a game. Anytime you can get a rivalry win like that at home, that's our goal.''
Doughty finished the day 28 of 36 for 359 yards with the five scores and one interception. Doughty hooked up with receiver Taywan Taylor on two of the touchdowns, from 28 and 9 yards. Taylor also caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from receiver Nacarius Fant in the second quarter on a double pass.
The Hilltoppers opened the scoring on their initial series as D'Andre Ferby scored on a 6-yard run, capping a four-play, 75-yard march. After forcing an MTSU punt, Western Kentucky needed just three plays to reach the end zone again as Doughty found Tyler Higbee for a 43-yard score. The Hilltopppers followed that with a10-yard TD pass from Doughty to Nicolas Norris and a 21-0 lead with 9:01 still left in the first quarter, and the rout was on as MTSU never got closer than 14 points again.
''They just jumped out on us so fast and so early and it just made it hard for us to stay within our game
''Give WKU credit, they are a really good football team,'' Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said.
The Hilltoppers did not punt the entire first half. Their other two possessions ended in an interception and a lost fumble, both of which Middle Tennessee cashed in for touchdowns - one a 28-yard run by Jeremiah Bryson that cut the lead to 21-7 and the other a 30-yard pass from Brent Stockstill to Richie James that made it 35-14.
In the second half, Western Kentucky settled for a pair of Garrett Schwettman field goals to close out its scoring, while Middle Tennessee added two touchdowns against Western Kentucky's prevent defense, both on touchdown passes by Stockstill. Stockstill finished the game 28 of 43 for 296 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.