Tory, AL (Sports Network) - Kawaun Jakes threw three touchdown passes and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers held on late to capture a 31-26 victory over the Troy Trojans in a Sun Belt Conference battle at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Jakes threw for 255 yards on 21-for-31 passing with his three scores going to three different receivers for Western Kentucky (5-1, 2-0 Sun Belt). Antonio Andrews rushed for 113 yards and Willie McNeal caught a team-high six passes for 68 yards. This was the ninth straight win for the Hilltoppers against conference opponents and the fourth straight win overall.
Corey Robinson completed 6-of-11 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown but missed the entire second half for Troy (3-3, 2-2) after being carted off the field just before halftime. In his place Deon Anthony completed 9-of-16 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. Chip Reeves caught three passes for 110 yards and a score while Shawn Southward led the team with 57 yards rushing. The Trojans are 0-3 at home this season.
Troy got off to a fast start and led 10-0 less than six minutes into the game. First Will Scott knocked through a 33-yard field goal. Then the Trojan defense recovered a fumble to set up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Chip Reeves.
The Hilltoppers cut into the Trojans' lead with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jakes to Mitchell Henry just before the end of the first quarter.
The Trojans responded with a methodical scoring drive that ended with a one- yard pass from Jaquon Robinson to D.J. Taylor on 4th-and-goal. The touchdown finished off an 18-play drive that covered 65 yards and took 7:56 off the clock.
Jakes connected with a wide open Jack Doyle in the end zone from nine yards out to pull the Hilltoppers to within three points, 17-14, with under a minute left before the half.
Robinson was injured on the final play of the second half after taking a hard hit to the head on a sack by Bar'ee Boyd.
Kadeem Jones scored on a one-yard run on the Hilltoppers' first drive of the second half as Western Kentucky took its first lead of the game.
That lead was cut to 21-20, when Scott connected on a 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Western Kentucky extended its lead to 28-20 with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jakes to Jones on its next drive.
Less than two minutes later Troy cut into the lead yet again with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Anthony to Eric Thomas. The Trojans failed on a two-point conversion attempt leaving the score at 28-26.
Garrett Schwettman made a 26-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation to extend the Hilltoppers' lead to 31-26. With Troy unable to score on its next possession, Western Kentucky came away with the victory.
Western Kentucky was a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone with four touchdowns. Troy converted on three of its four red zone trips.