The Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers concluded their regular season with a convincing 41-28 victory over the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers on Saturday at FIU Stadium.
The win propelled WKU to a 7-5 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Conference USA (CUSA) play.
- Malachi Corley broke the WKU Football career receptions record with six catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. He surpassed Taywan Taylor for the program’s career receptions record, now holding the record with 255 catches.
- Austin Reed threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 26-of-35 passing in three quarters of action.
- Easton Messer, Jimmy Holiday, Craig Burt Jr., and K.D. Hutchinson each caught a touchdown pass for WKU.
- Upton Stout recorded his second defensive touchdown of the season on a scoop and score in the first half.
- Talique Allen and Alex Ford had interceptions in the win. Kylan Guidry and Niko Cooper each finished with a team-high five tackles.
WKU took control of the game early, scoring on their opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown reception by Corley. The Hilltoppers extended their lead to 14-0 with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Holiday in the final minute of the first quarter.
FIU responded with a touchdown of their own, but WKU quickly regained momentum with back-to-back touchdowns. A 16-yard pass from Reed to Messer and a trick play touchdown pass from Smith to Burt made it a 34-7 game at halftime.
The Panthers scored again in the second half, but WKU answered with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Hutchinson. FIU added another touchdown late in the game, but it was too little too late as WKU held on for the 41-28 victory.
What’s Next for WKU?
WKU will now prepare for its 10th bowl game in the last 12 seasons, and the fifth in five seasons under Head Coach Tyson Helton. The Hilltoppers’ bowl game destination will be announced on Sunday.