BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Brandon Doughty connected with Willie McNeal on three touchdown passes Saturday as Western Kentucky's Red Team beat the Hilltopper White Team 42-3 in the spring game at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Doughty finished 23-of-35 for 314 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. McNeal, WKU's top returning wide receiver, caught seven passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns for the Red Team, which consisted of the Hilltoppers' first-team offense and defense.

The White Team included WKU's second and third-team offense and defense.

Saturday's spring game, played in front of a record crowd of 6,500 fans, marked the end of WKU's first spring practice under coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino, who was fired at Arkansas last April for not disclosing an "inappropriate relationship" with an employee, last coached a game at the 2012 Cotton Bowl.

Making the players aware of his coaching staff's standards was Petrino's primary goal this spring, he said.

"We've got some work to do, but it was fun," Petrino said. "I think we established some leadership, and that gives us a chance to be a good football team."

Much of the leadership Saturday came from Doughty's play at the quarterback position.

Doughty, a redshirt junior, entered the spring locked in a three-way race with sophomore James Mauro and Central Florida transfer DaMarcus Smith.

But as the spring wore on Doughty earned the majority of the first-team reps, eventually winning the starting spot for the Red Team Saturday.

"We're not going to name a starter," Petrino said, "but (Doughty's) had the better spring when you combine everything together. He's ran the offense better than the other two guys have at this point."

Doughty marched the Red Team 75 yards in nine plays on its opening drive before finding an open McNeal in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Doughty struck again on the Red Team's next possession, hitting tight end Tyler Higbee on a corner route for a 32-yard score and putting the Red Team up 14-0.

Two third-quarter touchdown strikes to McNeal, of 33 and three yards, put the Red Team up 28-0 at halftime.

"I like the way we throw the ball around a lot," McNeal said. "Coach 'P' is an offensive guru and he's going to put you in the place you need to be to make a play."

Doughty finished his day with a 36-yard touchdown strike to tight end Mitchell Henry in the third quarter.

"I think I did a solid job," Doughty said of his spring. "I set my goal to lead this team and that's what I'm here to do."

Henry finished the day with six catches for 94 yards and two Red Team touchdowns.

The Red Team's Antonio Andrews had a game-high 83 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Defensively, Red Team defensive back Cam Thomas led the way with two interceptions.

Petrino said he was pleased with how his defense responded this spring to new coordinator Nick Holt. Holt worked from 2009-11 as defensive coordinator at Washington before serving as recruiting coordinator last season at Arkansas.

"The linebackers and the secondary are very experienced and it really showed up," Petrino said. "That's what I wanted to get out of it was the first time they're on the field, by themselves, running the show, and I was happy with the (first-team) defense."

Players will now focus on weightlifting and academics over the next few weeks, Petrino said.

WKU will start fall practice in August, getting ready for the team's opener Aug. 31 against Kentucky at L.P. Field in Nashville, Tenn.