Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty, who leads the nation with 4,344 passing yards and 44 touchdown passes, has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA.
Doughty -- who was named the Conference USA player of the year on Wednesday -- redshirted as a true freshman in 2010, then suffered through season-ending injuries in 2011 and '12, leading the NCAA to grant him one more season.
This was Doughty's second season as a starter, and he blossomed this season under Jeff Brohm, who is in his first season as coach after replacing Bobby Petrino. Doughty threw 14 TD passes and 14 interceptions for Petrino in 2013, then had 44 TD passes and 10 picks this season. Given his size, athleticism, familiarity with the offense and solid arm, one more season should help Doughty become a draftable quarterback.
Doughty, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has played for three coaches at Western. He was signed by Willie Taggart, who preferred a physical, run-based attack. Then came Petrino, who was more balanced offensively (53 percent run, 47 percent pass). This season, the Hilltoppers threw on 56 percent of their offensive plays.
Doughty has had nine 300-yard games for the Hilltoppers (7-5), who are headed to the Bahamas Bowl to play Central Michigan. He had two 500-yard games and another with 491 yards -- and eight touchdown passes. In all, he had four five-TD games and eight with at least three TD passes. He also completed 67.5 percent of his 510 attempts.
"This is a very happy day for all of us around the WKU football family," coach Brohm said in a statement from the school. "... We appreciate the NCAA acting in the best interests of Brandon, and we are very happy to be able to bring him back for one more season."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.