Western Kentucky defeats South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl, 45-35

Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty celebrates a touchdown pass during the Miami Beach Bowl against South Florida.

(Austin Anthony / Associated Press)

Brandon Doughty‘s final game at Western Kentucky perfectly epitomized his career with the Hilltoppers, with a slow start followed by a record-setting finish.

Doughty threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 25 Western Kentucky overcame an early 14-point deficit to beat South Florida, 45-35, on Monday in the Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park in Miami.

Doughty finished the season with 5,055 yards for the Hilltoppers (12-2), the 14th time in Football Bowl Subdivision history that a quarterback has reached the 5,000 mark. His six-year career at the school — it took him three to become the starter — ended with these numbers: 1,023 completions, 12,855 yards and 111 touchdowns.

“It’s been a heck of a run,” Doughty said just before hoisting the bowl trophy.


South Florida (8-5) nearly stole the show from Doughty with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns that got the Bulls to within 38-35.

But Anthony Wales’ second touchdown of the day, a 42-yard scamper with 5 minutes 5 seconds left, helped seal it for the Hilltoppers. Nicholas Norris hauled in touchdown passes of 69 and 55 yards in the third quarter for Western Kentucky, and Jared Dangerfield made a highlight-caliber 26-yard TD catch over three defenders to cap a 28-point third quarter for the Hilltoppers.

Quinton Flowers rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another for South Florida, finishing with 273 yards passing and 108 more on the ground. Marlon Mack rushed for another 108 for the Bulls, who were in a bowl for the first time since 2010 and rewarded Coach Willie Taggart with a three-year extension through 2020 earlier in the day.

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