Football drops conference opener

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(PHOTO/ Rojan Maharjan)

Todd’s longest grab was a 44-yard catch downfield from Barker. Todd failed to reach the endzone as four other receivers brought down a touchdown pass.

 

Scott Shelton

Staff Writer

The Arkansas State Red Wolves defeated the Troy Trojans 50-43 at Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday night in the opening Sun Belt Conference game for both teams.

Post game, Troy head coach Chip Lindsey spoke about the team’s efforts after giving up 14 first-quarter points and trailing much of the first half.

“People who play team sports understand, but when you get into a situation where things aren’t going your way, your team needs to be able to rely on each other and come together,” Lindsey said. “Tonight, we did that, which is impressive.”

Troy’s offense drove down the field inside a minute remaining following linebacker Carlton Martial’s first career-interception.

With nine seconds remaining and no timeouts, the Trojans got to the 8-yard line before offensive lineman Austin Stidham suffered an injury. 

Per NCAA rules, if an offensive player is injured with under a minute left in the game, a 10-second runoff occurs on the game clock.

Since only nine seconds remaining on the game clock and the Trojans had no timeouts, the game ended on that play. 

For the second time in three weeks, the Trojans gained more than 500 yards, but also allowed more than 500 yards on defense.

On that night, the offenses combined for more than 1,000 yards in a shootout led by quarterbacks Layne Hatcher of Arkansas State and Kaleb Barker of Troy. 

Hatcher completed 25 of 34 passes for 440 yards and four touchdown passes. Barker completed 28 of 51 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns. 

Hatcher, an Alabama transfer, earned the starting quarterback job this week after a season-ending injury to quarterback Logan Bonner. 

Saturday marked the second time this season Barker threw for more than 300 yards – a mark he did not reach last season.

Omar Bayless led the Red Wolves in receiving with 10 receptions for 213 yards. 

Troy’s wide receivers were led by Kaylon Geiger and Reggie Todd, who combined for 12 receptions, 211 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

Eight different receivers caught a pass from Barker in the game. Four different receivers caught a touchdown pass, marking the first time that has happened since the game against Florida A&M on September 2018. 

For the second-consecutive game, D.K. Billingsley reached the century mark with 103 rushing yards. 

Defensively, Carlton Martial remained the team’s catalyst on that side of the ball. Martial forced a fumble in the second quarter and caught a fourth-quarter interception to set up the Trojans’ final drive. 

Will Sunderland caught the second interception of his career in the fourth quarter.

Dell Pettus led the defense in tackles with 10 total, including five solo tackles. 

Travis Sailo, Jarvis Hayes and Jeremiah Jones all recorded sacks on the night. 

The Trojans started the game giving up a 92-yard touchdown pass and a 40-yard fumble return for a score. 

The Trojans fell behind by as many as 11 points in the first half before tying the game just before halftime.

In the second half, Troy took its first lead in the third quarter on Tyler Sumpter’s field goal. Sumpter connected on three for the game. 

The Red Wolves quickly took the lead back at the 7:50 mark of the third quarter and didn’t look back. 

Next week, the Trojans go on the road to take on the Missouri Tigers of the SEC at 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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