White throws 4 TD passes; WKU beats North Texas 45-7
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Mike White threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns and Western Kentucky rolled to a 45-7 victory over North Texas on Saturday.
Western Kentucky (8-3, 6-1) held the Mean Green (4-5, 2-4) to 232 total yards of offense, just 55 in the first half, and didn’t give up a score until the game was well out of reach.
The defending Conference USA champion Hilltoppers won their fifth straight and control the race for the conference’s East Division title. The Hilltoppers can lock a spot in the conference championship game with a win at Marshall on Nov. 26.
White connected with Taywan Taylor in the first quarter for touchdown passes of 64 and 75 yards in the first six plays of the game.
“We wanted to start the game off early and fast, and try to take their will,” Taylor said. “We did a good job of that.”
Taylor led with 166 yards receiving and three scores. Anthony Wales had 121 yards rushing and ran for a 3-yard TD to put Western Kentucky up 31-0 at the half.
Western Kentucky had 543 yards of offense for 7.3 yards per play.
Andrew Tucker ran for a 71-yard TD run in the third quarter to avoid the shutout for North Texas. “Our defense got off the field and we shut them down,” Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm said. “Our defense was dominant.”
Alabama transfer Alec Morris stepped in at quarterback for North Texas, replacing freshman Mason Fine who fumbled off a sack in the second quarter. Morris was 14 of 26 for 108 yards passing with an interception.
Western Kentucky capitalized off the sack fumble forced by Joe Brown, and scored on the next play with a 33-yard strike from White to Nicholas Norris. Norris added another touchdown grab in the third quarter.
Since 2013, the Hilltoppers are 13-1 in November, and 9-1 in three years under Brohm.
“We’re at the point now where you win and advance and if you lose, you don’t,” Brohm said. “That’s what makes it so exciting . There’s always something riding on the games. Every game matters. I think when that’s the way it is, you have to enjoy the ride.”
WKU receiver Nicholas Norris had 66 yards receiving at halftime to reach 1,000 yards on the season. He joined Taylor (1,340 yards) as the first WKU wide receiver duo to have 1,000-yards receiving in the same season. Norris finished with 90 yards and two TDs.
North Texas lost its third straight and must win out to become bowl eligible under first-year coach Seth Littrell.
Western Kentucky will have a week off before wrapping up the regular season at struggling Marshall on Nov. 26.
North Texas hosts Southern Mississippi next Saturday.