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September 22, 2012

WKU 42, Southern Miss 17

A stadium record 23,252 people watched WKU soundly defeat visting Southern Miss 42-17 late Saturday night.

The Hilltoppers led 42-3 late in the 3rd quarter before starting substitutions, a game which they dominated largely thanks to their power running game.


WKU totaled 369 yards on the ground, with Antonio Andrews (15 carries for 136 yards and one touchdown--a 9.1 yards per carry average) and true freshman Leon Allen (11 carries for 132 yards and one touchdown--a 12.0 ypc average) leading the way for the Toppers.

When asked if the team was dominant vs. Southern Miss, senior offensive lineman Adam Smith felt comfortable with saying "yes".

"I mean, we rushed for over 300 yards tonight," Smith said. "I think we did pretty well up front."

Head Coach Willie Taggart agreed with Smith, giving credit to the offensive line for the two runningback's big nights.

"They (the line) kept coming off the field, saying 'Coach, keep running it'." Taggart said.

Even Andrews himself had compliments for the offensive line.

"I was proud of big Ed (Hazelett) stepping in for (normal starter) Cameron Clemmons," Andrews said.


Meanwhile, the Toppers also performed well on the defensive side of the ball, limiting Southern Miss to only 101 yards passing on a combined 8-for-17 team effort.

However, it was one play from the secondary that put a damper on the night.

Southern Miss converted a 13 yard passing touchdown to make the score 42-10 with 2:03 left in the 3rd quarter.

On the play, sophomore safety Jonathan Dowling was flagged for a 15 yard personal foul on a late hit on Golden Eagle wide receiver Tyre Bracken, leading to an immediate game ejection on Dowling from the referees.

The Sun Belt Conference's rule calls for a one-game automatic suspension for such infractions, but Taggart said that Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson (in attendance for the game), told him Dowling would not be suspended.

"He'll be back (next week) against Arkansas State," Taggart said.

The record stadium crowd was a big boost for the Hilltoppers in the 42-17 win, and Taggart said he hopes fans come back for more.

"We had a big time college football environment today," Taggart said. "That atmosphere - you could see the excitement on our guys' faces.

"There's no excuse for not coming back. If you (fans) like what you're seeing, please be here and be loud."

The Hilltoppers also finished an impressive 9-13 on 3rd down, led by quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who finished 12-for-18 for 172 yards and three touchdowns.


WKU improved to 3-1 on the 2012 season, with Sun Belt conference play beginning next week versus Arkansas State.

Stay tuned to InsideHilltopperSports.com for more coverage from the 42-17 victory over Southern Miss, including reaction from several top recruits that witnessed the win in-person.



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