The Troy Trojans (3-1) came into Saturday’s showdown with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (1-4) as a 28-point favorite but needed a last-second 47-yard field goal to avoid the upset and pick up a 31-29 win.
The Colonels of the FCS spent the majority of the game playing catch up but the Trojans never could manage to separate themselves and with just 21 seconds remaining in the game, Eastern Kentucky took the lead, 29-28, on a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Parker McKinney to running back Dixon. Eastern Kentucky failed to convert a two-point try, which gave Troy a chance to win it.
Troy’s Reggie Todd returned the ensuing kickoff up to the 40-yard line with just 14 seconds left. Trojan quarterback Gunner Watson then masterfully drove Troy down to the Eastern Kentucky 30-yard line to give kicker Evan Legassey a shot.
Legassey secured his legacy in Trojan lore as he drilled the 47-yarder as time expired to help the Trojans avoid the upset.
“I was really proud of how our guys continued to believe and fight. We overcame adversity all night long,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. “We kept clawing and scratching and found a way to win.
“Evan Legassey made a huge kick after we didn’t execute really well on special teams last week, which was a big step in the right direction. We didn’t play our best today and we know that. I heard a lot of our leaders talk about that in the locker room talking about going back to work and refocusing. We had a good week of practice and I thought we were ready to play. We just didn’t play well in many different areas tonight.”
Watson finished the game completing 26-of-38 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions. Those two picks were a part of three turnovers that helped keep the Colonels in the game.
Freshman running back Kimani Vidal had his second straight 100-yard performance as he gained 143 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. BJ Smith added 45 yards on 15 carries along with six catches for a career-high 96 yards.
Kaylon Geiger caught seven passes for 100 yards and the Troy defense was led by KJ Robertson with 11 tackles and one pass breakup.
Linebacker Carlton Martial also totaled nine tackles, 0.5 tackle-for-loss and Terence Dunlap intercepted a pass.
Troy’s first touchdown came on a 16-yard pass from Watson to tight end AJ Lewis in the first quarter. Dixon matched that Troy score with a 90-yard scoring grab a few minutes later. Khalil McClain then caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Watson.
Eastern Kentucky booted a 19-yard field goal and also scored on a 12-yard touchdown run from Alonzo Booth in the second quarter. The touchdown put the Colonels ahead 17-10.
Troy answered when Vidal scored on a 1-yard run late in the first half and then Troy extended its lead to 28-17 on a 22-yard pass from Watson to Todd.
Eastern Kentucky booted a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to cut the Troy lead to 28-23 before taking the lead with 21 seconds left.