Troy football (4-3) was able to out duel the Georgia State Panthers Saturday, Oct. 12, for the 35-28 win because of some quality defense in the fourth quarter, and the biggest play might just have been the one Chris Pickett made.
The senior free safety, Pickett, had to endure the first half stuck in the Atlanta Falcons’ locker room because of a penalty in the South Alabama game on Oct. 5, which got him kicked out of the game.
“Going into the game, Coach Blakeney knows my personality and he knows the type of guy that I am, and I can be very intense sometimes,” Pickett said. “All this week, he had just been ‘Don’t get mad, don’t get mad Chris. Don’t say anything just get ready for the second half.’”
During pregame warm ups in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Pickett was telling his teammates what he planned to do when halftime was over and he was allowed back on the field.
“I just told all the guys when I was warming up ‘the show is going to start in the second half,’” Pickett said. “‘I’m going to make something happen. I’m going to make a play. I’m going to make a play in the second half.’ I told all those guys, strength and conditioning coaches and everybody I’m going to make a play in the second half.”
The score was 28-28 in the fourth quarter and Georgia State was threatening to take the lead with about four minutes to go in the game.
Pickett and the Trojan defense needed a stop.
It was second-and-12 for the Panthers at Troy’s 47-yard line when GSU quarterback Ronnie Bell threw the ball high into air down the field.
“I saw the quarterback. He was getting pressured a little bit so I just stayed in my pedal,” Pickett said. “I saw him let the ball go and it was like he was throwing the ball to me but there was a receiver behind me.”
Pickett was at the right place at the right time as the poorly thrown ball fell back towards the Georgia Dome turf at the Troy 17-yard line.
“I pretty much had to go up and get the ball at the highest point,” Picket said. “I didn’t want to make a mistake, didn’t want to drop it, didn’t want to fall. I had to keep my balance after I caught my ball.”
The senior safety ended up returning the interception 20 yards to the Troy 37, setting the stage for a Trojan offensive scoring drive.
Lost in the shuffle of Corey Robinson to Chris Williams for a 54-yard touchdown catch was Chris Pickett, the defensive back who shut the door in Georgia State’s face giving the Troy offense a chance to win.