In case you missed it, this was arguably one of the best and more exciting games of the day. Troy and USM combined for 89 points, tied for the highest scoring game of the weekend with Arkansas and Colorado State.
The offenses actually got off to a fairly slow start as it took nearly ten minutes into the first quarter for a team to find the end zone. That team was USM as they jumped out to a 14-7 lead at the end of the quarter.
Star running back B.J. Smith exited early in the first quarter after Barker left one high for him off of a flea-flicker. Smith appeared to have landed awkwardly and was out for the rest of the contest.
The Trojans got on the board via a 57 yard pitch and catch from Barker to Geiger to cut the lead to 14-7 with 40 ticks left in the first.
By the start of the second, Golden Eagles’ quarterback Jack Abraham was a perfect 13-13 through one quarter.
However, it was Barker and company that marched 97 yards down the field to tie the game at 14 on their first drive in the second quarter.
After a quiet rest of the second, USM hit a 26-yard FG as time expired to give the Golden Eagles a 17-14 lead heading into halftime.
Troy opened the scoring in the second half with a one minute, 4 play, 80-yard drive capped off by a 25-yard TD reception by WR Tray Eafford to give the Trojans their first lead of the day.
Another USM FG and passing TD from Jack Abraham to Quez Watkins brought the 3rd quarter to a close with the Golden Eagles up 26-21.
As we entered the fourth at The Vet, the two quarterbacks, Barker for the Trojans and Abraham for the Golden Eagles, combined for 731 yards through the air.
On the other hand, with the injury to B.J. Smith, the Trojans rushed for just 20 yards through three quarters of play.
Following another USM TD, WR/KR Reggie Todd took one 69 yards to the house on the ensuing kickoff. The Trojans pull back within one score.
Absolute chaos struck as Jaylond Adams of USM took the ensuing Troy kick-off the distance in response.
Back-to-back kick-off returns and the Golden Eagles are up two scores once again as it is 40-28 USM with 11:15 remaining in the fourth.
The three touchdowns took just 45 seconds. A combined 68 points and almost a full quarter yet to play.
The Trojans were able to answer back with Barker’s third passing TD on the day. Troy pulled back within 5 points with just under 9 minutes left to go.
And again, USM answers right back in under 2 minutes with a 64-yard pass from Abraham to Watkins, his second receiving TD, to put the Golden Eagles up 47-35.
With time the enemy now for the Trojans, they were able to find the end zone with 2:51 left in the fourth.
With a 47-42 lead, Troy looked like they still had some life as they forced the Golden Eagles into a fourth and 2 on the plus 33-yard line with a minute left to play.
It’s only fitting that Abraham put the final dagger into the Trojans as he scampered for 16 yards and a first down to end the game.
Notable Stat lines:
Kaleb Barker (Troy): 29/43, 504 yards, 4 TDs
Geiger, Whittemore, Eafford, McClain (Troy): All over 100 yards receiving
Reggie Todd (Troy): 69-yard KO return TD
Jack Abraham (USM): 28/36, 463 yards, 2 TDs
Quez Watkins (USM): 7 receptions, 209 yards, 2 TDs
Jaylond Adams (USM): 11 receptions, 180 yards, 100-yard KO return TD
The Troy Trojans will travel to Ohio to face the Akron Zips on Saturday September 21st at 3pm while the Southern Miss Golden Eagles travel to Tuscaloosa to face #2 Alabama.