BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) Austin Reed threw a 75-yard scoring strike to Malachi Corley in the fourth quarter and Western Kentucky became eligible for a bowl game after rallying for a 28-23 victory over Sam Houston on Saturday.
Reed threw for a 45-yard touchdown to Dalvin Smith to give Western Kentucky (6-5, 3-3 Conference USA) a 7-0 lead after one quarter.
Sam Houston (2-9, 1-6) bounced back with Keegan Shoemaker's 42-yard touchdown throw to Noah Smith and Adrian Murdaugh's 1-yard scoring plunge to take a 13-7 lead. Markese Stepp scored on a 3-yard run and Reed connected with Craig Burt Jr. for a 26-yard touchdown as the Hilltoppers regained the lead. Colby Sessums kicked a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to pull the Bearkats within 21-16.
Sam Houston had the only score of the third quarter - John Gentry's 7-yard touchdown run - to take a 23-21 lead.
Reed's game-winning drive started on the Hilltoppers' 1-yard line. Seven plays later Reed hit Corley, capping the scoring with 11:53 remaining.
Reed finished with a season-high 392 yards on 28-of-41 passing with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Corley had eight receptions for 171 yards. Smith had 125 yards on seven catches.
Shoemaker completed 25 of 45 passes for 271 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Sam Houston. DB Caleb Weaver had two interceptions and Da’Marcus Crosby returned a pick 39 yards.
Sam Houston hosts Middle Tennessee in its season finale next Saturday. Western Kentucky closes out the regular season at Florida International on Saturday.
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