Second half surge lifts Troy over Texas State on the road 

Published 9:31 pm Saturday, October 28, 2023

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Despite trailing at halftime, the Troy Trojans (6-2, 3-1) dominated the second half against the Texas State Bobcats (5-3, 2-2) to pick up a 31-13 Sun Belt Conference road win. 

Troy rolled up 420 yards of total offense but Texas State netted more total yardage, gaining 437 yards. Troy also rushed for just 28 yards but threw for 392 yards. The difference in the game, though, was the Trojan defense forced four turnovers and holding Texas State to just 5-of-17 on third and fourth downs. 

The win marks Troy’s fifth straight this season and it also makes the Trojans bowl eligible for the second consecutive season.

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Texas State jumped ahead 7-0 on the first drive of the game as TJ Finley connected on a 28-yardift touchdown pass to Ashtyn Hawkins. Troy tied things up on a 3-yard touchdown run from Gunnar Watson with 14:02 left in the second quarter. With just under two minutes left in the second quarter, Texas State booted a 21-yard field goal. The Bobcats would take the 10-7 lead into halftime. 

Troy took its first lead of the game as the third quarter began as Watson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Dothan native Jabre Barber to put Troy ahead 14-10 with 13:15 left in the third quarter. Texas State answered with a 23-yard field goal to cut the Troy lead to 14-13 with 8:16 left in the third period.  

The fourth quarter was all Troy, however. The Trojans went up 21-13 when Watson heaved a 14-yard touchdown pass to Deshon Stoudemire with 13:48 left in the game. Watson then threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Landon Parker with 10:22 left to put Troy ahead 28-13. The Trojans added a 27-yard field goal from Troy native Scott Taylor Renfroe with 1:26 left.  

Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson had a dominant night, completing 26-of-40 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown. Troy coach Jon Sumrall got emotional when talking about Watson. 

“He’s had a lot of naysayers, some Troy fans,” Sumrall said of Watson as he teared up. “I love the guy.” 

 Barber also had a career night, catching 10 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Stoudemire caught four passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Chris Lewis caught three passes for 51 yards. Kimani Vidal rushed for 43 yards on 18 carries.  

 Senior Dell Pettus led the Troy defense with 12 tackles, while Caleb Ransaw earned nine tackles and a tackle-for-loss. Jayden McDonald tallied seven tackles and both Irshaad Davis and Buddha Jones had five tackles. Richard Jibunor earned a sack, while Reddy Steward and Jordan Stringer both had interceptions. Stringer also had a sack and a forced fumble. Eric Shaw and Javon Solomon both earned fumble recoveries.  

Troy will have a short week this week as the Trojans host South Alabama in the “Battle for the Belt” on Thursday in a game that will air nationally on ESPN2.