WKU routs Marshall to win East Division title

Published 8:44 pm Saturday, November 27, 2021

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Bailey Zappe threw four touchdown passes — all in the second half — and Western Kentucky spotted Marshall 14 points before pulling away for a 53-21 victory on Saturday, laying claim to Conference USA’s East Division crown.

In a game between the top two teams in the East, the Hilltoppers (8-4, 7-1) ran off 36 unanswered points to earn the right to face 15th-ranked UTSA in the conference championship game on Dec. 3 in San Antonio.

Western Kentucky managed just two field goals by Brayden Narveson and trailed 14-6 at halftime.

Zappe came out firing in the third quarter. He hooked up with Daewood Davis for a 47-yard TD just 1:19 into the third quarter. Zappe followed that with a 14-yard TD toss to Malachi Corley before firing a 50-yard scoring strike to Davis midway through the quarter.

Narveson added a 53-yard field goal and WKU led 29-14 heading to the fourth. Zappe’s final TD toss was an 8-yarder to Dalvin Smith 52 seconds in. Davion Williams capped the scoring for the Hilltoppers with a 45-yard pick-6 in the final minute.

Zappe completed 25 of 48 passes for 328 yards with no interceptions for WKU.

Luke Zban was 16-of-25 passing for 123 yards and a TD for the Thundering Herd (7-5, 5-3). Rasheen Ali carried 24 times for 97 yards.

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells completed his first 10 passes but left the game after getting sacked and fumbling the ball away in the second quarter.

He walked to the locker room with an undisclosed injury and did not return.

W. Kentucky 0 6 23 24 = 53

Marshall 7 7 0 7 = 21

First Quarter

MRSH–Wells 1 run (Ciucci kick), 7:01.

Second Quarter

MRSH–D.Miller 3 pass from Wells (Ciucci kick), 14:22.

WKU–FG Narveson 41, 8:05.

WKU–FG Narveson 46, 2:38.

Third Quarter

WKU–Davis 47 pass from Zappe (Narveson kick), 13:41.

WKU–Corley 14 pass from Zappe (Narveson kick), 9:10.

WKU–Davis 50 pass from Zappe (pass failed), 7:28.

WKU–FG Narveson 53, 3:25.

Fourth Quarter

WKU–Dal.Smith 8 pass from Zappe (Narveson kick), 14:18.

MRSH–Ahmed 41 pass from Zban (Ciucci kick), 12:23.

WKU–Burt 43 kickoff return (Narveson kick), 12:16.

WKU–FG Narveson 39, 1:12.

WKU–D.Williams 45 interception return (Narveson kick), :53.

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WKU MRSH

First downs 25 20

Total Net Yards 485 323

Rushes-yards 34-157 40-124

Passing 328 199

Punt Returns 0-0 0-0

Kickoff Returns 4-84 5-65

Interceptions Ret. 1-45 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 25-48-0 26-39-1

Sacked-Yards Lost 1-8 4-17

Punts 3-40.0 7-39.286

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 5-45 5-30

Time of Possession 30:43 29:12

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–W. Kentucky, Whittington 14-69, Robichaux 7-47, Moses 5-27, Cofield 5-25, Zappe 3-(minus 11). Marshall, Ali 24-97, S.Evans 2-12, Payne 2-6, W.Johnson 1-5, Zban 7-4, Wells 3-1, (Team) 1-(minus 1).

PASSING–W. Kentucky, Zappe 25-48-0-328. Marshall, Zban 16-25-1-123, Wells 10-14-0-76.

RECEIVING–W. Kentucky, Tinsley 9-84, Corley 4-76, Je.Sterns 4-28, Davis 3-105, D.Smith 2-22, Beljan 1-7, Cofield 1-7, Whittington 1-(minus 1). Marshall, Gammage 7-44, Ali 7-17, Gaines 3-29, D.Miller 2-23, Keaton 2-18, Scarcelle 2-16, Harrison 2-11, Ahmed 1-41.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–W. Kentucky, Narveson 47.