Trojans fall to No. 15 Kansas State on the road

Published 2:23 pm Saturday, September 9, 2023

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The Troy Trojans (1-1) hit the road and dropped a non-conference contest to the No. 15-ranked Kansas State Wildcats (2-0) by a score of 42-13 on Saturday.  

A four-point game late in the first half ended up turning into a route in Kansas State’s favor. The loss snaps Troy’s 12-game winning streak dating back to Sept. 17, 2022.  

Kansas State came out swinging at Troy, marching on an 8-play, 71-yard drive in less than four minutes. The Wildcats capped it off with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Will Howard to Jadon Jackson to put KSU up 7-0 early. After a quick Troy three-and-out on offense, Kansas State scored again on a 2-yard touchdown run from Phillip Brooks as the second quarter began.  

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The Troy defense started to settle down at that point. After Gunnar Watson was intercepted by Kansas State, the Trojan defense answered when Reddy Steward intercepted a Howard pass in the end-zone. Troy marched on a 14-play drive that Troy native Scott Taylor Renfroe capped off with a 26-yard field goal to cut the KSU lead to 14-7 with 3:46 left in the half. 

The Trojan defense forced a quick three-and-out and the Troy offense got cooking again. Gunnar Watson started off the drive with a 30-yard pass to Jabre Barber. A few plays later, Kentucky transfer Chris Lewis made a highlight reel one-handed 21-yard touchdown catch from Watson with just 52 seconds left to cut Kansas State’s lead to 14-10. 

While it looked like Troy would go into the half with all the momentum, the explosive Wildcat offense struck again. Howard threw a short completion to Brooks, who then raced 39 yards with just 10 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to 21-10. KSU would take that lead into halftime. 

While the Kansas State offense started on Troy’s side of the field on its first three drives, the Trojan defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs. Eventually, though, the Wildcats got back on the scoreboard when Howard capped off an 8-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to extend the KSU lead to 28-10 with 3:47 left in the third period. 

As the fourth quarter began, Renfore added a 37-yard field goal to cut Kansas State’s lead to 28-13. The Wildcats answered right back with a 9-play, 76-yard drive. Howard finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Treshaun Ward to extend Kansas Stat’s lead to 35-13. Howard added a 1-yard touchdown run with under three minutes left to stretch the Wildcat lead to 42-13.  

After rushing for nearly 300 yards last week, the Trojans amassed just 70 yards on the ground this week, averaging three yards per carry. Troy netted 290 total yards. Kansas State piled up 395 yards of offense and 250 yards through the air. The Trojans also turned the ball over twice and gave up four sacks.  

Watson completed 17-of-32 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Vidal rushed for 83 yards on 17 carries and Lewis hauled in five catches for 50 yards and one score. Defensively, Dell Pettus led the way with eight tackles, while Javon Solomon earned five tackles, one tackle-for-loss and one sack. Renfroe was 2-for-2 in field goals.  

For Kansas State, Howard completed 21-of-32 passes for 250 yards, three touchdowns and one interception along with 33 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Brooks caught seven passes for 94 yards and one touchdown.  

Troy will look to get back in the ‘W’ column back at home next week as the conference schedule opens against James Madison at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16.