Watson gets first meaningful playing time while filling in for Barker

Published 7:43 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Troy redshirt freshman quarterback Gunnar Watson saw his most meaningful action of his career on Saturday on the road against the Missouri Tigers out of the Southeastern Conference.

Starting quarterback Kaleb Barker was removed from the game late in the first half due to an injury. Watson entered and finished off the rest of the game.

Watson finished the game with five completions in nine attempts and racked up 58 yards in a little more than two quarters of play.

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“I thought he played well,” Troy head coach Chip Lindsey said. “That was his first extended action. He had really good composure.”

Watson appeared in just four games heading into Saturday. In those games, he threw a total of 14 passes and had a total of 46 yards.

“I felt a lot more comfortable than I did last year getting in against like Liberty,” Watson said. “I played in, what, two games this year? I only handed the ball off really against Campbell and Akron. I felt comfortable. Coach Lindsey has prepared me for whatever I need to do.”

Watson made his collegiate debut last year at home against Florida A&M. Despite playing on the road against an SEC opponent in Missouri, Watson admits he was a lot more nervous last year against the Rattlers.

“Oh yeah. Last year, I was definitely nervous,” Watson said. That first play at home, yeah I was nervous. I knew going in there was really nobody in the stands. It was still a big deal. First collegiate snap and everything, that’s a big deal to you. I was nervous, anxious I guess you could say.”

This time around, the game slowed down for Watson, even against an SEC caliber defense.

“Just the speed of the game slowed down,” Watson said. “I’m back there, everything has slowed down now. I’ve gotten a little used to it. That’s the biggest thing, slowing the game down.”

Coach Lindsey said Barker was questionable heading into Troy’s next game against South Alabama on October 17. Watson feels he will be ready to go, whether he is called on or not.

“I have to stay locked in and ready all the time,” Watson said. “That’s what I’ve done the whole time, and I’m going to keeping that just in case.”