Bowling Green, Ky. —It is the first time WKU has appeared in a poll since starting the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2007. The Hilltoppers were ranked numerous times during their years in the FCS (Division I-AA), reaching the top spot in the poll after winning 2002 National Championship, and again during the 2005 season.
Two Hilltoppers — junior running back Antonio Andrews and sophomore defensive back Jonathan Dowling — were also recognized by various outlets for their individual efforts during Saturday’s victory.
College Sports Madness selected Andrews as both its National Offensive Player of the Week and Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week after his career night against the Wildcats. Andrews set new career highs for rushing attempts (34), rushing yards (125), rushing touchdowns (3) and all-purpose yards (233) in the victory. His third touchdown came in overtime to pull WKU within a point. Then, on a two-point conversion try, Andrews took a lateral from quarterback Kawaun Jakes and rolled to his right. The former high school QB then threw back left to a wide open Jakes who ran into the end zone for the game-winning score. Through three weeks of the season, Andrews ranked sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 197.67 per game.
Andrews was also recognized by the College Football Performance Awards as an honorable mention All-Purpose Performer of the Week, while Dowling was picked as an honorable mention Defensive Back of the Week.
Dowling became just the fifth Hilltopper in history to record at least three interceptions in a game, and the first to do so since Carl Brazley had three picks against East Tennessee State on Sept. 30, 1978. Jim Pickens holds the school record with four INTs against Eastern Kentucky in 1948. Dowling also had an interception in the season opener against Austin Peay, currently placing him in a tie for the top spot nationally with four picks already this season.
Off to a 2-1 start for the first time since 2007, the Hilltoppers return home to Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium this Saturday (Sept. 22) to host defending Conference USA champion Southern Mississippi at 6 p.m. (CDT). At halftime, WKU will honor members of the 2002 Hilltopper team as they celebrate the 10-year anniversary of winning the I-AA National Championship. Additionally, members of the 1992 “Save the Program” team will also be recognized as it has been 20 seasons since that team represented WKU at a time when, faced with massive budget cuts, the University considered suspending the sport. Jack Harbaugh, who was the head coach of both teams, will also be on hand for a special recognition