Antonio Andrews rushed for 110 yards, Brandon Doughty had 206 yards passing and Keshawn Simpson ran for four touchdowns to help Western Kentucky and coach Bobby Petrino beat Georgia State 44-28 on Saturday.
Petrino made his first appearance at the Georgia Dome since abruptly resigning 13 games into his only season as Atlanta Falcons coach six years ago.
The announced crowd of 5,377 barely acknowledged Petrino in pre-game introductions. Over 69,000 fans were at his last game in Atlanta, a 34-14 Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 10, 2007.
Petrino shocked the Falcons with his sudden departure for Arkansas the following day. He went 34-17 with the Razorbacks, but was fired in April 2012 after acknowledging an extramarital affair.
Western Kentucky (5-4, 2/3 Sun Belt Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak. Ronnie Bell had two touchdown passes for Georgia State (0-9, 0-4).
WKU took its early season frustrations out on Morgan State behind 291 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns from Antonio Andrews in a 58-17 win Saturday night.
Andrews' five scores broke the WKU (2-2) record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game. Andrews wasted no time getting things started with a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against the Bears (0-4). The senior finished with 17 carries for 213 yards on the ground. True freshman quarterback Todd Porter earned his first collegiate start for the Hilltoppers and all four quarterbacks saw time on the field. In Porter's NCAA debut, he completed five of 10 passes for 76 yards and threw one interception. WKU amassed 588 yards of total offense while Morgan State tallied 317 yards. Linebacker Xavius Boyd led all defenders with 10 tackles and Andrew Jackson followed closely with nine in the Hilltoppers' victory.
After starting the season with three games away from home, the WKU football team is gearing up for its first contest at L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers host Morgan State this Saturday night, and hope to get back in the win column after dropping their last two games.
WKU head coach Bobby Petrino says players and staff are excited to finally play in Bowling Green.
"I'm looking forward to the routine for a home game, and what you do, and how you prepare," the first-year Hilltopper coach said. "I'm looking for a crowd that will come out with a lot of energy and excitement. It's always great to play at home. And hopefully that's something that will really help us and give us energy and help in our preparation."
This will be the first time WKU has played Morgan State, which brings an 0-3 record into Saturday's game.
WKU opened the season with a win in Nashville against Kentucky, but then lost at Tennessee and at South Alabama.
Tyrell Pearson's interception return with just more than two minutes left set up a 1-yard plunge by Trey Fetner that lifted South Alabama to a 31-24 win over visiting Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams Saturday night.
The Hilltoppers (1-2, 0-1) took a 21-10 lead in the first half but could only manage a field goal in the second half - that coming on a 44-yard boot to start the fourth quarter by Garrett Schwettman after the Jaguars tied the game at 21-21.
Aleem Sunanon kicked a 37-yard field goal two minutes later to tie the score at 24-24.
Ross Matheny completed 11 of 15 passes for 193 yards to lead South Alabama (2-1, 1-0).
Brandon Doughty was 27 of 47 for 282 yards and three touchdowns to lead Western Kentucky, but he was also intercepted three times.