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GAMEDAY College Football

New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky 44, South Alabama 23

(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS - Austin Reed passed for four touchdowns and a New Orleans Bowl-record 497 yards, leading Western Kentucky to a 44-23 win over South Alabama.

It was yet another memorable season-ending performance for Reed, who set Division II title-game records in 2019 by passing for 523 yards and six TDs in West Florida's 48-40 victory over Minnesota State.

Reed's bowl total gave him 4,744 yards and 40 touchdowns passing this season, which leads the nation in both categories - for now.

Reed entered the the game ranked second nationally in yards passing behind Washington's Michael Penix Jr., who has 4,354 yards passing. Penix plays against Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Reed's touchdown total puts him three ahead of Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, USC's Caleb Williams and Houston's Clayton Tune, each with 37. Tune and Williams await bowl games, and Stroud could play twice more if Ohio State wins its semifinal match-up with Georgia in the College Football Playoff.

The Hilltoppers also set a New Orleans Bowl record with 522 team yards passing. Receiver Dalvin Smith threw a 25-yard TD pass to Jaylen Hall on a play that started with Reed's backward pass to Smith.

South Alabama's Carter Bradley passed for 360 yards and three touchdowns, and was intercepted twice. Much of his production came in the second half with his team down by three or more TDs.

Both teams combined for 74 completions, tying an NCAA record for overall completed passes in a bowl game.

Two of Reed's scoring strikes went to Malachi Corley, who increased his TD's receiving total to 11 this season.

Reed also threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Smith on the game's opening possession and hit tight end Joey Beljan for a 27-yard score on his second series.

After the Jaguars failed on fourth-and-4 from the WKU 46, the Hilltoppers needed just three plays to take a three-TD lead on Smith's receiver pass to Hall.

Georgia Tech transfer Kaleb Oliver made his fourth interception this season on a pass tipped by defensive tackle Lorenzo Hernandez, thwarting South Alabama's first scoring threat.

The Jaguars didn't score until Diego Guajardo's 30-yard field goal with 1:38 left in the half -- enough time for Reed to lead the Hilltoppers to a fourth TD - thanks in part to two defensive penalties as time ran out.

Given an untimed down from the 1, WKU cashed in when Reed delivered short forward toss to Corley crossing against the flow of the offense and around the right end to make it 31-3 at halftime.

THE TAKEAWAY

Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers came in averaging 339 yards passing and had 354 by halftime. They also had three players with more than 100 yards receiving: Smith (145), Hall (138) and Corley (114).

South Alabama: With the exception of Yam Banks' sixth interception this season on a leaping, one-handed snag, the game was a humbling affair for a Jaguars defense that came in allowing an average of 302.6 yards of total offense per game and hadn't allowed any previous opponent more than 438. South Alabama fell to 0-3 all time in bowls.

December 21, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter WestKyUSA
WestKy TD 13:11 Dalvin Smith 44 yard TD pass from Austin Reed (Cory Munson Extra Point) 7 0
WestKy TD 8:46 Joey Beljan 27 yard TD pass from Austin Reed (Cory Munson Extra Point) 14 0
Second Quarter WestKyUSA
WestKy TD 13:44 Jaylen Hall 25 yard TD pass from Dalvin Smith (Cory Munson Extra Point) 21 0
WestKy FG 9:23 Cory Munson 23 yard field goal 24 0
USA FG 1:38 Diego Guajardo 30 yard field goal 24 3
WestKy TD 0:00 Malachi Corley 1 yard TD pass from Austin Reed (Cory Munson Extra Point) 31 3
Third Quarter WestKyUSA
USA TD 12:57 DJ Thomas-Jones 10 yard TD pass from Carter Bradley (Diego Guajardo Extra Point) 31 10
WestKy TD 11:19 Malachi Corley 39 yard TD pass from Austin Reed (Cory Munson Extra Point) 38 10
WestKy FG 5:05 Cory Munson 31 yard field goal 41 10
USA TD 3:12 La'Damian Webb 5 yard TD pass from Carter Bradley (Diego Guajardo Extra Point) 41 17
Fourth Quarter WestKyUSA
WestKy FG 9:24 Cory Munson 31 yard field goal 44 17
USA TD 6:01 Devin Voisin 12 yard TD pass from Carter Bradley (Diego Guajardo Kick Failed) 44 23
Team Stats
  Western Kentucky South Alabama
First downs 30 28
  Rushing 7 4
  Passing 21 20
  Penalty 2 4
3rd Down Efficiency 6-13, 46% 7-16, 44%
4th down efficiency 0-0, -% 0-3, 0%
Rushes-Yards 26-155 25-44
Passing Yards 523 377
Return Yards 90 106
Completions-Attempts-Int 37-56-1 37-55-2
Sacks-Yards Lost 0-0 4-27
Punts 2 4
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 7-70 3-26
Western Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
A. Reed 36 55 498 4 1
D. Smith 1 1 25 1 0
South Alabama Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Bradley 37 54 377 3 2
D. Trotter 0 1 0 0 0
Western Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
M. Stepp 7 63 9.0 0
D. Ervin-Poindexter 9 33 3.7 0
M. Mathison 1 31 31.0 0
A. Reed 4 25 6.3 0
M. Corley 1 3 3.0 0
L. Sanders 2 2 1.0 0
South Alabama Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
L. Webb 11 46 4.2 0
B. McReynolds 4 15 3.8 0
O. Wells 2 8 4.0 0
J. Webb 1 2 2.0 0
C. Bradley 5 -5 -1.0 0
D. Trotter 1 -10 -10.0 0
Western Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Smith 6 145 24.2 1
J. Hall 9 144 16.0 1
M. Corley 11 114 10.4 2
J. Beljan 3 42 14.0 1
M. Mathison 3 35 11.7 0
D. Ervin-Poindexter 3 28 9.3 0
J. Simon 2 15 7.5 0
South Alabama Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Voisin 11 153 13.9 1
C. Lacy 7 57 8.1 0
D. Thomas-Jones 4 45 11.3 1
B. McReynolds 4 38 9.5 0
L. Webb 4 29 7.3 1
J. Pritchett 2 24 12.0 0
J. Wayne 2 22 11.0 0
O. Wells 2 7 3.5 0
L. Sefcik 1 2 2.0 0
Western Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
K. Oliver 1 30
U. Stout 1 17
South Alabama Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Y. Banks 1 0
Western Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
T. Ellard 2 77 38.5
South Alabama Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Brooks 4 187 46.8
Western Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
South Alabama Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Western Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Mathison 2 43 21.5
D. Thomas 1 0 0
South Alabama Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. McReynolds 3 93 31.0
J. Pritchett 1 13 13.0
Western Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length
C. Munson 34
South Alabama Missed FG
Player Length




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