The Western Kentucky University football team became bowl eligible on Saturday with a 14-6 win over FIU, winning its fourth-straight road game in the process. The Hilltoppers have now won 13 of their last 16 games dating back to last season, and are 13-1 against teams not ranked No.1 in the nation during the current streak. WKU posted nine sacks as a team on Saturday, with five of the sacks coming from all-America candidate Quanterus Smith. The five sacks for the defensive lineman are the most by any player in a single game this season, and was only one sack shy of tying the NCAA record of six sacks in a single game. Information on Smith, along with WKU all-America candidates Antonio Andrews, Jack Doyle, Andrew Jackson and Jonathan Dowling can be found below. Please also find the one-page document attached to this e-mail.
Senior DE Quanterus Smith
WKU senior defensive end Quanterus Smith set a new Sun Belt Conference record and was one sack away from tying an NCAA record as he recorded 5.0 sacks against FIU on Saturday, giving him 11.5 sacks on the year. Smith is now averaging 1.64 sacks per game in 2012, leading the nation in that category.
The five sacks are the most by any defensive player in the nation this season. In fact, Smith currently owns three of the top eight single-game performances this season, collecting 3.5 sacks against Arkansas State and 3.0 sacks against top-ranked Alabama.
For his career, the Loganville, Ga., native now has 23.0 career sacks and is just one sack away from tying the Sun Belt Conference record of 24 sacks in a career. With four games remaining in the regular season, Smith has already set career highs in tackles for loss in a season (14.5) and sacks in a season (11.5).
Smith also ranks third in the nation averaging over two tackles for loss per game, including five or more tackles for loss on two separate occasions this season.
For his efforts on Saturday, Smith was named the National Defensive Lineman of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards – the second time this season he has earned that honor.
Junior RB Antonio Andrews
WKU running back Antonio Andrews rushed for 158 yards on 27 carries against FIU on Saturday, giving the junior six-straight 100-yard games – the longest active streak in the nation by a running back.
Andrews, who currently ranks fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (197.5), now has 1,580 all-purpose yards on the year, ranking 10th in WKU history in all-purpose yards in a season. Andrews has rushed for 917 yards and caught 23 passes for 260 receiving yards, becoming one of only three running backs in the nation with at least 900 yards rushing and 260 yards receiving this season.
For the year, Andrews has gone over the 200-yard mark in all-purpose yards in five of the eight games, including going over 220 all-purpose yards on three different occasions. The Fort Campbell, Ky., native has also averaged five or more yards per carry in five games this season, including 5.9 yards per carry against FIU.
Andrews has earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors on two different occasions this year, and has been recognized five different times this season by the College Football Performance Awards.
Senior TE Jack Doyle
WKU senior tight end Jack Doyle caught a team-high four passes for 63 yards against FIU on Saturday, moving him within just four receptions of taking over sole possession of second place on WKU’s all-time receptions list. Doyle currently sits 23 receptions away from breaking the all-time receptions record at WKU – a record held by Jake Gaebler.
Doyle’s four-catch performance on Saturday gives the tight end 11-straight games with at least one reception, and three-straight games with at least four catches. In fact, Doyle has had at least four catches in 14 of his last 20 games, with three games of seven catches or more during that span.
The Indianapolis, Ind., native currently ranks third in the nation among tight ends with 37 receptions on the year, while also ranking 12th in the nation among tight ends with 387 yards receiving.
Doyle was recently named to the John Mackey Award Midseason list, after showing up on the award’s list during the preseason as well. Doyle has three touchdown receptions in his last three games, including his first career multi-touchdown game against ULM on October 20.
Junior LB Andrew Jackson
In his 20th career start at linebacker for WKU, junior Andrew Jackson posted a tackle for loss for the 18th time in his 20 career starts, finishing Saturday’s game at FIU with 1.5 tackles for loss, to go along with five total tackles.
The 1.5 tackles for loss gives Jackson 10.0 tackles for loss this season, ranking him 38th in the country in tackles for loss per game. Jackson has been known for his stellar tackling ability, as he currently ranks 16th in the nation in solo tackles per game. The Lakeland, Fla., native had posted double-digit tackling performances in three-straight games prior to Saturday, recording 34 tackles in three games during that span.
Jackson received national recognition during the offseason, earning a spot on the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List, Bronto Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List and the Rotary Lombardi Trophy Preseason Watch List.
Sophomore DB Jonathan Dowling
Sophomore defensive back Jonathan Dowling didn’t record an interception on Saturday against FIU, but he did make one of the more memorable plays of the season, hustling downfield on what appeared to be a touchdown for FIU in the first quarter, stripping Golden Panther receiver Willis Wright at the one-yard line to keep FIU out of the end zone.
Dowling, who ranks second in the nation in interceptions with five, finished Saturday’s game with four total tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. The Bradenton, Fla., native is averaging 1.43 pass breakups per game this season, ranking 16th in the nation in that category.
Dowling is one of five players in the nation to have a three-interception game this season, picking off three passes against Kentucky in week three