Unbeaten no more: Troy knocks off Georgia State
Published 9:14 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023
On Saturday, the Troy Trojans (3-2, 1-1) headed into Atlanta, Ga., and handed the Georgia State Panthers (4-1, 1-1) their first loss of the season by a score of 28-7 in a Sun Belt Conference clash.
Coming into the contest, GSU was not only undefeated but had one of the most prolific offenses in the Group of 5. The Trojans, though, held the Panthers to 298 total yards and just seven points, while forcing three turnovers in the win.
The Panthers started things off hot, driving inside the Troy 15-yard line in just two plays to open the game. The Troy defense stood tall, however, as O’shai Fletcher intercepted a third down pass. The Trojans then marched down the field before Troy native ST Renfroe booted a short field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Troy took the 3-0 lead into the second quarter and Renfroe added a career-long 38-yard field goal with 13:12 left in the half. Georgia State scored on a 1-yard run with 7:05 left in the half and would take a 7-6 lead into halftime.
The second half was all Troy. The Trojans opened the third quarter with a 45-yard touchdown run from Damien Taylor. On GSU’s next drive, Caleb Ransaw intercepted a GSU pass and a few plays later Gunnar Watson threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kimani Vidal to give the Trojans a 21-7 lead after Watson also converted a two-point try to Deyunkrea Lewis.
In the fourth quarter, GSU drove inside the Troy 3 before the Trojan defense answered the call once again. After Buddha Jones poked away an option pitch attempt, Jayden McDonald scooped up the Panther fumble at the 3 and raced out to the 30-yard line. The Trojans took the ball over with 8:21 left in the game and proceeded to march on a 14-play drive that ate up 8:15 of game time, capped off by a 6-yard touchdown run from Vidal to make the final score 28-7.
Troy churned out 410 yards in the win with 154 yards on the ground. Watson completed 23-of-30 passes for 256 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Vidal rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and moved into third place in school history in all-time rushing in the process. He also caught a touchdown pass. Taylor rushed for 69 yards and a score on nine carries, while Dothan native Jabre Barber caught seven passes for 121 yards. Deshond Stoudemire also caught five passes for 51 yards.
McDonald led the Troy defense with nine tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a fumble recovery, while Jordan Stringer recorded six tackles. Javon Solomon earned a sack and forced fumble, while Ransaw and Fletcher earned interceptions.
Troy is back at home next Saturday, Oct. 7, for a conference matchup with Arkansas State.