The Kansas State offensive line works against the defense of Troy at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Sept. 9, 2023

Kansas State would jump out to an early lead on Troy Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but it would belie the way the rest of the day would.

Eventually, K-State’s offense would have the ball enough to again find the flow and finish a 42-13 win a flourish that didn’t reflect how the game was played.

The Trojans challenged the Cats with stout defense and some big chunks by the air through the second and third quarters.

The Wildcats built a 14-0 lead early in the second period, but the Trojans dominated the yardage and time of possession in the second quarter to pull to within four just before halftime. K-State’s offense suffered through its first swoon of the season against a Troy defense that came ready for the Cats rushing attack.

The K-State defense was ready for Troy’s ground game, too, however, holding their second straight opponent to under 100 rushing yards for the game.

Will Howard directed an eight play, 71 yard drive to open the game, hitting four of his first five throws in the process. The drive was capped by Jadon Jackson’s second TD grab in as many weeks.

After the teams traded possessions and punts, Troy would put together a 10 play drive that traveled 36 yards, but a fourth and one stop by Austin Moore on running back Kimani Vidal set the Cats up for their second scoring drive of the day.

Phillp Brooks would be the beneficiary of that drive, using a sweep run to score from two yards out and build the lead to 14-0.

The Trojans would start with good field position after Chris Tennant’s kickoff ent out of bounds, but K-State gained an interception as Will Lee outbattled Chris Lewis for Gunnar Watson’s pass.

Howard tried to cash in with a big throw to the end zone two plays later, but overthrew R.J. Garcia. Reddy Steward pulled the ball out of the air giving the visitors the ball at their own 20 with 10:30 still left in the first half.

Pass plays of 16 to Lewis and 27 yards to Clayton Ollendieck put the Trojans in the red zone, but the K-State defense stuffed two runs and limited a completion to Deshon Stoudmire to a couple of yards. Scott Taylor Renfroe gave Troy their first points of the day with a 27 yard field goal after their offense ate up nearly seven minutes.

The Wildcats went three and out on the next possession, despite Howard finding Ben Sinnott for the first time on the afternoon for five yards on third down. After his hot start, Howard’s completion was only his sixth since the opening drive on thirteen attempts.

Another big grab by Lewis put Troy at midfield and they were helped by a Marques Sigle pass interference penalty to move to the K-State 35 with 1:44 to go in the half and holding on to two time outs. After Vidal was stuffed on first down, VJ Payne’s late hit on Watson gifted the Trojans another 15 yards, setting them up with 1:08 to play at the 21 yard marker.

Lewis would make his second one handed grab of the afternoon, streaking to the back right corner of the end zone to make a 21 yard TD catch and the Trojans were to within four of K-State with 52 seconds remaining, while silencing the purple clad partisans.

Howard would be sacked on first down, rush for 15 and find Treshaun Ward to set the ball at the Troy 24. Brooks would find the far sideline open for the distance thanks to a Ward block that freed the veteran wideout after he caught a throw from Howard, building the cushion back to 11 points at 21-10 with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

Both defenses ratcheted things up after halftime as the teams traded possessions, unable to gain ground on the other before K-State finally found the juice to move 44 yards in 8 plays, aided by a 15 yard penalty on a first down carry by Will Howard. Keagan Johnson made his first two grabs of the season, including nearly scoring his first touchdown on a 17 yard catch, getting to the one.

K-State would score two plays later as Howard ran up the middle for the score to push the lead to 28-10 with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter.

Vidal would get his longest trot of the day on a drive bridging the close of the third and start of the fourth quarters. A 46 yard run would put the Trojans just outside the red zone and they would finish with points, getting a 37 yard field goal from Renfroe with 13:58 to play to cut the K-State advantage to 28-13.

After the Troy kickoff, Howard threaded the needle to Jackson with a 40 yard toss over two defenders to put the Wildcats into plus territory at the 36. The next six plays were runs by Ward, who would catch a one-yard toss from Howard to tack on another score, making it 35-13.

The Trojans would again get turned away by K-State’s defense on a fourh and one with 6:34 to play, as Austin Romaine leveled the running back a yard deep in the backfield.

K-State would ride that momentum to a 34 yard drive in six plays, finishing with Howard’s second rushing touchdown of the afternoon to cap the scoring with 2:50 to play.

Troy’s last gasp ended when Tobi Osunsanmi forced a fumble on a sack of backup quarterback Goose Crowder and Uso Seumalo recovered to finish off the victory.

Final Stats