BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — One week after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky took out its frustrations on Houston Baptist Saturday night.
Nicholas Norris scored three touchdowns, Western Kentucky scored on its first eight possessions and the Hilltoppers went on to rout Houston Baptist 50-3 in a nonconference game.
“We needed a lot of fine-tuning to do from the loss we had last week,” Norris said. “So we tried to work on the little things, especially with us going into a hostile environment next week against Louisiana Tech.”
Western Kentucky (3-2) wasted no time, going 82 yards in just four plays on the opening drive for the game’s first touchdown. Anthony Wales capped the march, running nearly untouched through the Houston Baptist (2-3) defense for a 45-yard touchdown less than a minute-and-a-half into the contest.
Mike White’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Norris made it 14-3 after the first quarter.
“We came out and did what we needed to do and executed early on,” Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm said. “We moved the ball, scored points, and took care of the football. We improved upon certain things that we didn’t do well last week. Overall, we just took care of business, it was a good win.”
The Hilltoppers scored so fast and so often, that they had only 15:33 of possession through three quarters, compared to 29:27 for the Huskies, despite leading by 47 points.
Houston Baptist coach Vic Shealy knew quickly that his Huskies were overwhelmed. Houston Baptist is in only its fourth season of fielding a football team.
“When your only two losses are against SEC schools, and one of them is an overtime loss that many probably would like to have over again, you know they are a quality team coming in playing,” Shealy said. “They didn’t disappoint. They’re really athletic, well coached and play hard. We knew who we were playing.”
Brohm emphasized getting back on track after last Saturday’s 31-30 overtime loss to Vanderbilt.
“I think it was important to clean some things up and learn from our mistakes,” Brohm said. “And that’s kind of how we’ve been the last couple of years. We just try to improve each and every week. We’re pretty good at learning from our mistakes, being critical of ourselves. We did that today.
Norris also caught a 19-yard pass from White in the second quarter and had an 85-yard touchdown run on an end-around to open the Hilltoppers’ scoring in the third period.
Also, in a 20-point third quarter, Nacarius Fant had a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown and Marcus Trigg had a 12-yard touchdown run.
Skyler Simcox added a 50-yard field goal as the game was quickly out of hand.
Houston Baptist’s only points came on a 25-yard field goal by Alec Chadwick with 34 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies have now given up at least 50 points in all three of their losses this season. They previously lost 56-13 to Central Arkansas and 52-16 to Sam Houston State.
Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers dominated the game in nearly every facet and did not punt until the 1:33 mark of the fourth quarter. Western Kentucky piled up a season-high 535 yards of total offense and had 23 first downs in the game.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies have a bye week next week, and then return to action for a homecoming matchup against Nichols on Oct. 15.
Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers travel to Ruston, Louisiana, to face Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech on Thursday night.