TROY, Ala. (AP) — Western Kentucky played keep away, eating up yards mostly a few at a time with the clock dwindling down.
The Hilltoppers couldn't punch it in with a decisive touchdown at the end but they held onto it for nearly 5 minutes in a 31-26 victory over Troy on Thursday night.
Kawaun Jakes threw three touchdown passes, Antonio Andrews rushed for 113 yards and the Hilltoppers (5-1, 2-0 Sun Belt Conference) won their fourth consecutive game since losing at No. 1 Alabama. They have won two straight over the Trojans (3-3, 2-2) after starting 0-8-1 in the series.
Western Kentucky made sure Troy backup quarterback Deon Anthony had scant time to work with.
"We always talk about being a great team and I think that's what great teams do, find a way to win ball games," Hilltoppers coach Willie Taggart said.
Playing the second half without injured starting quarterback Corey Robinson, Troy coach Larry Blakeney had a gamble backfire in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans' Shawn Southward was stopped well short on fourth and 2 from their own 42 with more than 6 minutes to play. Andrews, who has four straight 100-yard efforts, helped Western Kentucky burn the clock down and set up Garrett Schwettman's 26-yard field goal with 1:12 left.
Blakeney said he went for it because of Western Kentucky's ball-hogging capabilities, which were on display at the end.
"If I had to do it over again, I might punt it," he said. "But you're danged if you do, danged if you don't. They're a time-consuming team and you can't let them have too many possessions. We were trying to steal one from them."
Anthony led Troy across midfield before the final drive stalled and the team fell to 0-3 at home.
Robinson didn't return after getting knocked unconscious on the final play of the first half, with the Trojans leading 17-14 after twice going ahead by 10 points. He was taken off the field sitting up in a cart after getting sacked by Bar'ee Boyd and Blakeney said he would stay overnight at Troy Regional Medical Center for observation.
"He got knocked out so we've got to take care of that," the coach said
Jakes, meanwhile, completed 21 of 31 passes for 255 yards in a battle of the Sun Belt's top two scoring defenses. Kadeem Jones ran for a 1-yard touchdown and scored on an 18-yard catch, both in the third quarter, to overcome a fast start by the Trojans.