Troy State Tops Marshall 33-24

In front of the largest crowd to ever see a Troy State home game, the Trojans turned first half Marshall miscues into points and hung on for a 33-24 upset of the Herd in front of 26,000 at Movie Gallery Stadium. The stadium, just renovated for $18 million dollars and expanded to 30,000 seats, had never seen a crowd like Saturday night. The previous high for Troy State at a home game was 17,426 against Sam Houston State in 1999.

The Herd drove for an opening 33-yard field goal by Ben Lewia and a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter. After getting the ball back quickly, Marshall again drove to the Troy 26-yard line, but Graham Gochneaur missed Darius Watts on a fourth-and-six pass. Troy roared to a touchdown behind a 30-yard completion from Aaron Leak to Jason Samples, a Leak eight yard run and then a little "trickeration." Leak threw a pass backwards to Samples, who pulled up and hit a wide open Jermaine Richardson to give the Trojans a 7-3 lead.

At the start of the second quarter, Marshall return man Chris Royal fumbled a punt at midfield. The defense held and forced Troy to punt. Marshall could not move the ball, then Klint Rose had his punt blocked by Adrian Ghent to set Troy up at the Marshall 21. That led to a 38-yard field goal by Thomas Olmstead and a 10-3 TroY State lead.

On Marshall's next series, Gochneaur was intercepted by Bernard Davis, one of three interceptions grabbed by the Trojans. It would lead to another Olmstead field goal, this one from 36 yards, and a 13-3 Troy State lead. It also led to the return of Stan Hill to the Marshall lineup, one game ahead of schedule. Hill had been told he would return for Kent State on October 11, but the Mississippi junior asked for a chance to get in against Troy and would come back with a big game.

Hill led the Herd to a touchdown just before halftime, hitting Jason Rader for a three-yard score and a 13-10 lead for Troy going to the locker room. The teams would exchange punts on the first five possesions of the second half before the Herd struck for a short-lived lead. Hill found Josh Davis behind the Troy secondary and Davis went 79 yards for a score to put MU up 17-13 with four minutes to play in the third quarter.

TSU came right back, driving 80 yards in five plays, with DeWhitt Betterson going in from three yards out to retake the lead for the Trojans at 20-17 with 2:20 on the clock and that is the way the third quarter would end.

Marshall took the ball at the start of the fourth quarter and looked to be driving for a go-ahead score when Hill threw the first of two interceptions against him on the night. Derrick Ansley would step in front of Davis at the 28-yard line and not stop until he had gone 72 yards for a score to give Troy a larger lead at 26-17, after Paul Sinclair blocked the extra-point. After MU had to punt on the next series, Troy looked to run some clock when freshman defensive tackle Roger Garrett stripped Leak on a keeper and Gladstone Cole recovered at the Troy State 39-yard line.

Earl Charles had two runs sandwiched around a Hill-to-Watts pass to get MU down to the 15. Then under a tremendous rush, Hill avoided four defenders and found Watts in the back of the endzone. Watts made a sensational catch and got his feet down to make the score 26-24 Troy with eight minutes to play. That is as close as Marshall would get, as Troy marched 71 yards in five plays, much of it coming on Marrio Fraser's 28-yard touchdown run to set the final at 33-24. Ansley would pick off Hill once more to ice the game and set off a celebration that included one goal post being torn down by the large, noisy crowd.

Marshall is open next weekend, before meeting East Division leader Kent State for the MU Homecoming game on October 11. Troy State will celebrate tonight, then begin preparing for a trip to the land of corn huskers with a date with Nebraska coming up next for the Trojans.

Rushing: MU-Charles 10/69, Wallace 12/33, Tunstalle 2/4; TSU-Betterson 17/114, Fraser 12/81, Leak 12/59.

Passing: MU-Hill 39-25-2/266 yards/3 tds, Gochneaur 13-8-1/53/0td; TSU-Leak 15-5-0/59/0 td, Samples 1-1-0/36/1 td.

Receiving: MU-Davis 12/177/1 td (79), Watts 9/75/1 td (15), Bates 5/36/0 td, Rader 4/18/ 1td (3); TSU-Samples 2/38/0 td, Richardson 1/36/1 td, Stewart 1/17/0 td.

Punting: MU-Rose 1/39, Team 1/0 (blocked-Rose), Lewis 5/225/45.0; TSU-Olmstead 8/339/42.4.

Tackles (solo/assists/total/other): MU-Coke 5/3/8 FR, Tynes 4/2/6, Wilson 4/2/6 TFL, Anderson 1/5/6, Atkins 1/4/5 Sack; TSU-Johnson 6/2/8, Oates 5/3/8 TFL, Reed 4/4/8 TFL, Farmer 3/5/8 .5 TFL, Faulk 268 .5 TFL.

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