Reed, stout defense lead Western Kentucky past UAB 20-17

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) Austin Reed ran for two touchdowns and the Western Kentucky defense didn't allow a point in the second half as the Hilltoppers came from behind to beat UAB 20-17 on Friday night.

Dylan Hopkins fired a 59-yard scoring strike to Samario Rudolph on UAB's first possession and the Blazers led 7-0 after one quarter.

Western Kentucky (5-2, 3-1 Conference USA) tied the game 55 seconds into the second quarter on Reed's 20-yard touchdown run, but UAB (4-3, 2-2) answered with Matt Quinn's 35-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.

Backup quarterback Jacob Zeno connected with Fred Farrier II for a 14-yard touchdown and a 17-7 Blazers' advantage. Zeno took over when Hopkins left the game after losing a fumble on a sack.

Brayden Narveson kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:41 left to pull the Hilltoppers within 17-10 at halftime.

Narveson added a 44-yarder with 5:03 left in the third quarter to get WKU within 17-13 and the Hilltoppers defense followed with the play of the game.

Kahlef Hailassie forced a fumble by national rushing leader DeWayne McBride and JaQues Evans scooped it up and returned it 29 yards, setting up a first-and-goal at the Blazers' 6-yard line. Two plays later Reed bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out and the Hilltoppers took the lead for good.

Reed, who came into the game as one of only five quarterbacks with 20 touchdown passes already this season, completed 14 of 23 for 128 yards for WKU. He has six rushing touchdowns this season. L.T. Sanders carried 16 times for 120 yards.

McBride, who came in averaging 155.6 yards a game on the ground, finished with 197 on 24 carries for UAB.

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