BOWLING GREEN, Ky (AP) — Bailey Zappe passed for 424 yards and seven touchdowns as Western Kentucky walloped UT Martin in the season opener 59-21 on Thursday night.
College football's leading passer in 2020 while playing at Houston Baptist, Zappe opened his Western Kentucky career by hitting Daewood Davis on a 73-yard score to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, then added three more touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Hilltoppers a 28-14 halftime lead. Zappe is the first WKU passer to throw for seven touchdowns in a home game.
Zappe was picked off on his second pass attempt of the game and finished 28 of 35. Jerreth Sterens and Joshua Simon each pulled in two scoring passes. Sterens caught seven passes for 107 yards.
Keon Howard was 20 of 43 for 195 yards passing and a touchdown and carried 12 times for 44 yards for the Skyhawks,
Murray State routs Mississippi Valley State 35-0
At Murray, Preston Rice had four touchdown runs to lead Murray State to a 35-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State in the season opener for both teams.
Rice broke loose for a 28-yard score on the Racers' third play from scrimmage and later added three TD runs from inside the 5. He finished with 81 yards rushing on 11 carries and was 10-of-16 passing for 157 yards. Cortezz Jones carried the ball 10 times for 107 yards.
Quinaz Turner and Davontae McKee each had an interception for the Racers.
Mississippi Valley State was held to 162 yards of offense and didn't cross midfield in the second half. Conor Regan completed 10 of 16 passes for 56 yards and added 14 yards rushing for the Delta Devils.