"I was really proud of our defense tonight, we had four turnovers and that's the key to the game," said A-State head coach Bryan Harsin. "To be quite honest with you, that's what we talked about was the challenge our defense had accepted all week. We needed to get turnovers and you hope to get three a game and we were able to get four. That's important to us so my hat is off to the defense."
The winning margin came on a 13-yard run by Fredi Knighten
with 3:56 left. Freddie Jackson settled it with an interception with 55 seconds left deep in A-State territory.
ASU took a 13-0 lead. Allen Muse
caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Adam Kennedy
with 7:50 left in the first quarter. After an Amos Draper
interception, David Oku
ran in for a 2-yard score with 6:31 left. After the second score, ASU went for the two-point conversion and failed.
But it would be a night where Red Wolves' fans would never feel comfortable.
The Trojans trimmed A-State's lead to 13-7 as Jordan Chunn
scored on a 1-yard run with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
A 43-yard pass from Kennedy to Muse set up Oku's 3-yard run for a 20-7 lead
took the lead at halftime on 2-yard run by Deon Anthony
and a 3-yard pass from Corey Robinson
to Eric Thomas with 16 seconds left in the half. It was 21-20 at that time.
A-State regained the lead in the third quarter at 27-21 when Michael Gordon
took handoff in the Wildcat formation and ran 11 yards.
Adam Kennedy completed 20-of-34 for 282 yards and a TD. Julian Jones
catching a game-high eight for 65 yards. Muse turned in his best game with six receptions for 158 yards.
Linebacker Qushaun Lee's had 12 tackles. Eddie Porter
had eight tackles and a fumble recovery.
"Overall, I feel that our players and coaches coming off a short week prepared very well because you never really know if you're going to be fresh enough coming off such a short week like we did," Harsin said. "The energy these guys showed today, going out and playing a really physical football team like Troy the way we did is just tremendous."
In a wild roller-coaster of a ride game Thursday night at Liberty Bank Stadium, the Arkansas State Red Wolves emerged with a 41-34 victory over Troy in the Sun Belt Conference opener before a crowd of 26,012.