Andrews, WKU defense sink Navy Midshipmen

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Antonio Andrews ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers downed visiting Navy 19-7 Saturday, beating the Midshipmen at their own ground game.

Andrews outgained the nation's best rushing offense all by himself as Western Kentucky (3-2) held Navy to 107 yards, well below the 398 yards the Midshipmen averaged through the first two games. The Hilltoppers outgained Navy 417-183 in total offense.

Navy (2-1) was trying to open the season 3-0 for the first time since 2006. The Midshipmen averaged 552 yards offense through two games but just couldn't keep the chains moving against the Hilltoppers. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds was injured in the second quarter and was replaced by John Hendrick.

The Hilltoppers gave up 410 yards rushing in losing to Navy in 2011. This time, they were ready for the triple option and got their first win over Navy in their third try.

Navy led 7-3 when the Hilltoppers put together their best drive of the day, going 88 yards and chewing up more than 6 minutes off the clock. Andrews, the senior who set a school record rushing for five TDs last week, kept the drive alive converting a fourth-and-1. He then capped the drive with his 2-yard run with 5:41, giving the Hilltoppers their first lead of the day.

Andrews finished with a season-high 32 carries, and he helped seal the victory in the fourth quarter. Andrews scored on an 11-yard TD run with 9:39 left. Western Kentucky's defense made that hold up by shutting down Navy with Reynolds on the sideline.

This was a nearly a home game for Reynolds, who went to high school at Goodpasture Christian School near Rivergate, just over an hour from Bowling Green. But he got hurt late in the second quarter and spent the second half on the sideline wearing a ballcap. He ran only six times for 23 yards and a TD and was just 2 of 4 for 20 yards passing.

Hendrick didn't do much better. Jonathan Dowling intercepted one of his passes in the third quarter, and Western Kentucky started penetrating so much even handoffs became a challenge. Then Hilltoppers linebacker Xavius Boyd sacked Hendrick in the end zone for a safety with 5:46 left.

Navy led 7-3 at halftime with the Hilltoppers adjusting quickly to the triple option after Navy went 67 yards on its opening possession with six different Midshipmen getting at least one carry. Reynolds capped the 67-yard drive with his fourth carry, a 1-yard keeper, for a 7-0 lead.

Western Kentucky had scored on the opening drive of each game this season. This time, the Hilltoppers went three-and-out, choosing to punt on fourth-and-1. The Hilltoppers started slowing down Navy's triple option and got on the board with a 30-yard field goal by Garrett Schwettman early in the second quarter. He hooked a 36-yarder wide left just before halftime.

Brandon Doughty, benched as the starter a week ago because of eight interceptions in a two-game stretch, started as crisply as coach Bobby Petrino could have wanted. Doughty completed his first nine passes only to have his 10th intercepted by Parrish Gaines. Western Kentucky's defense bailed Doughty out by stopping Hendrick on fourth-and-1, stopping him a couple inches shy of the first down late in the first half. But Doughty was 25 of 31 for 198 yards. Doughty has completed at least 79 percent in three of WKU’s five games this season. He completed his first 16 passes on the home field this season.

Andrews tallied 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In the past two games, he has recorded 395 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Andrews had a season-high 32 rushes in the game. His career high is 37 in last year’s game at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 17. Andrews posted his sixth-career performance with 150+ yards rushing and has posted 100 or more rushing yards in 14 of his last 16 games. Andrews recorded his 23rd career game with 100 or more all-purpose yards and has now caught a pass in 18 consecutive games.

Junior defensive back Jonathan Dowling had his first interception of the season and seventh of his career during the third quarter. Dowling picked off Navy’s final pass attempt of the game to secure his second-career multiple-interception performance. Dowling intercepted three passes at Kentucky on Sept. 15, 2012.

Junior wide receiver Joel German posted career highs in receptions (7) and receiving yards (87). Senior linebacker Xavius Boyd led WKU in tackles for the sixth-straight game dating back to the 2012 season, totaling 8 stops on the afternoon. Boyd recorded his first-career safety in the fourth quarter to give WKU a 19-7 lead with 5:46 left in the game. Senior offensive lineman Sean Conway missed the first game of his career due to injury. He had started 41 consecutive games entering today’s contest with Navy.


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