Western Kentucky used a 26-0 second half run to defeat Arkansas State 26-13 late Saturday night in Jonesboro, Ark.
The run was spearheaded by backup quarterback James Mauro, who was inserted into the lineup when starter Kawaun Jakes went down with a knee injury in the 1st half.
Mauro finished 8 for 12 passing in the contest, totaling 104 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Both touchdowns were caught by sophomore tight end Mitchell Henry, finishing with four catches for 43 yards.
While the passing attack from Mauro was surprising, runningback Antonio Andrews put up his usual impressive numbers, finishing with 215 yards on 29 carries (a 7.4 yards per carry average), and one touchdown.
"I said back in training camp that we had three quarterbacks we could play and win with," WKU head coach Willie Taggart said. "James showed that tonight.
"His teammates rallied around him, and he played with a lot of poise and confidence."
Defensive end Quanterus Smith anchored the defensive side of the ball, finishing with 7 tackles (5 ½ for loss), and 3 ½ sacks.
"Their defensive line is one of the best in the conference," Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn said. "We knew that coming into the game.
"We knew that we had to run the football to take some pressure off of our lineman."
The defense held Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin, who previously was 80 for 108 passing (a 70% completion percentage) in three career games against WKU, to 23 for 40 passing on Saturday night (with one interception).
"Against an offense like Arkansas State, you can't let them get in a rhythm," Taggart said. "Our defense did a great job tonight of disrupting what they wanted to do, and really shutting down their offense in the second half."
Punter Hendrix Brakefield also had a big night for the Hilltoppers, with 3 of his five punts landing inside the Arkansas State 20 yard line.
WKU improves to 4-1 overall in the 2012 regular season, and 1-0 in Sun Belt conference play, while Arkansas State drops to 2-3 overall (0-1 in Sun Belt).
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