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Western Kentucky Thrashes Marshall 49-28 to Win East Crown

Brandon Doughty carved up the Herd secondary with a five touchdown performance to lead the Tops to their first ever CUSA East Division Championship.

Tyler Higbee (82) hauls in one of his two touchdowns in WKU's win over Marshall
Tyler Higbee (82) hauls in one of his two touchdowns in WKU's win over Marshall
Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Doughty tossed five touchdown passes while rewriting the WKU record book as the Tops earned their first CUSA East Division Title with a 49-28 win over Marshall.

Doughty finished 27-39 for 370 yards and five touchdowns, as he became the first player in FBS history to throw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

WKU struck only 44 seconds into the contest on a Doughty 35-yard touchdown pass to Nicholas Norris and a 7-0 lead. WKU would never relinquish the edge.

After a lackluster first quarter by both teams, WKU high-octane offense came to life to begin the second quarter as Ace Wales walked in from 15 yards and a 14-0 lead.  Wales finished with a game-high 131 yards on 24 carries.

Doughty found Tyler Higbee on back-to-back touchdown strikes that bookend Marshall's lone bright spot from much of the first half. Deandre Reaves streaked 97-yards for the Herd's first score of the contest only to have Doughty and Higbee steal away the thunder.

Higbee finished with 6 catches for 92 yards and two scores in his first game back since North Texas.

Chase Litton pulled Marshall to within 14 on a 5-yard hookup with Ryan Yurachek, trimming the deficit to 28-14 with 2:01 left in the half.

With a full collection of timeouts and two minutes remaining, Doughty made it 35-14 after a 9-yard touchdown strike to Taywan Taylor with 33 seconds left in the half.

Three Marshall turnovers to open the second half resulted in two Garrett Schwettman field goals and a 41-14 lead midway through the third.

Marshall answered with 1:19 left in the third on a 32-yard score from Litton to Justin Hunt making it 41-21 after 45 minutes of play.

Doughty put the final nail in the coffin to open the fourth quarter when he tossed his fifth touchdown of the game to Antwane Grant for a 49-21 lead.

Marshall's Hyleck Foster added the final score of the game on a 4-yard touchdown run.

Norris led the Tops with seven catches for 75 yards. Davonte Allen had five grabs for 35 for the Herd.

WKU's defense stifled the Herd's rushing attack limiting it to 31 yards on 25 carries. It was the fewest yards gained by the Herd since a loss to UCF in 2011.

WKU became the first team in CUSA to run the table in conference since Houston in 2011.

Western will host the winner of Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss next weekend in Bowling Green.