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(Thursday, December 3rd)
Final Score: Arkansas State 24, Western Kentucky 20
Bowling Green, KY (Sports Network) - Alex Carrington's fumble return for a touchdown with 3:49 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as the Arkansas State Red Wolves stormed back to defeat the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky in Sun Belt Conference action at LT Smith Stadium.
ASU (4-8, 3-5 Sun Belt) trailed 20-3 late in the third quarter before staging its comeback with the help of poor offensive play by a winless Western Kentucky (0-12, 0-8) program.
Ryan Aplin helped to keep the Red Wolves in the mix by converting 16-of-20 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, while also adding a rushing touchdown on 13 attempts as well.
The Hilltoppers were paced by Kawaun Jakes with his 12-of-19 passing for 121 yards, but he was intercepted once and sacked a total of seven times, which meant the team was left with 114 yards rushing on 45 attempts.
WKU moved out to what appeared to be a commanding 14-0 advantage in the first quarter as running backs Tyrell Hayden and Bobby Rainey recorded rushing touchdowns of nine and three yards, respectively.
The only points for the Red Wolves in the first half came in the second frame when kicker Josh Arauco knocked through a 27-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-3.
But before the first half could draw to a close the Hilltoppers moved down the field and set up Casey Tinius with a 34-yard field goal as time expired.
With 3:22 remaining in the third period Tinius booted another 34-yard field goal to make the score 20-3 in favor of the home team.
Less than three minutes later Aplin capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run. Turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed Aplin to connected with J.T. Jordan on a four-yard scoring strike at the 5:30 mark of the final period, closing the gap to 20-17 and setting up Carrington's defensive effort to be the surprising game-winner.
Western Kentucky, which turned the ball over a total of three times on the night, finished with a mere 235 yards of total offense.
The Hilltoppers close out the 2009 campaign owning the nation's longest losing streak at 20 in a row. The last victory for this program came in a 50-9 romp over Murray State back on September 20, 2008.
12/04 00:00:40 ET