BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) -- One week after scoring a school-record 87 points, Western Kentucky relied on defense and special teams to defeat in-state rival Eastern Kentucky 26-6 Saturday.
The Hilltoppers (2-1), who scored 49 first-quarter points against West Virginia Tech, needed a safety from their defense and a blocked punt for a touchdown from their special teams to put away the Colonels (1-2).
Western Kentucky trailed 3-0 after the first quarter when Alonzo Higgins put the Hilltoppers on the scoreboard by tackling Eastern Kentucky running back Bobby Washington for a three-yard loss in the end zone for a safety.
After the ensuing free kick, backup quarterback K.J. Black, a redshirt freshman, directed the Hilltoppers to their only offensive touchdown of the first half, hitting receiver Quinterrance Cooper from seven yards out to cap the 63-yard march and put Western Kentucky ahead 9-3.
The Hilltoppers? defense and special teams continued to carry the load, as Bo Smith's interception set up Chris James? 35-yard field goal that put Western Kentucky up 12-3 at the half.
Special teams came through with a big play on the opening series of the second half, as Jihad Morris broke through the Eastern Kentucky line and blocked a Benton Kuszmaul punt and teammate Stephen Willis fell on it in the end zone to give the Hilltoppers a 19-3 advantage.
The Hilltopper's offense struggled to put together drives for much of the day and had just 1 net yard rushing in the first half. But Black, spelling starter David Wolke for the second time in the game, directed an eight-play, 46-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive that sealed the game. Tyrell Hadyen scored from a yard out with 1:42 to play to account for the final margin.
Eastern Kentucky's points came on two Taylor Long field goals from 26 and 23 yards.
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