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WKU Football falls 27-24 to the Troy Trojans

Kayden Mulrooney
Members of the WKU Color Guard perform at a football game against Houston Christian on Sept. 9, 2023.

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers traveled to Troy, Alabama where they were visitors in the Trojan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, geared for early Saturday kickoff. The Trojans took down the Hilltoppers in a tight 27-24 contest.

Going into the game, both the Hilltoppers and Troy were coming off of losses the previous week, with Troy falling to the James Madison Dukes in a 16-14 loss at home. On the other side, the Tops were gearing up for a bounce back following a big loss to Ohio State, looking ahead at what should have been a promising nine game stretch to end the season.

First Quarter


  • 6:14: Fumble! Tops defensive back Upton Stout forces and recovers a fumble in what was a long, 16-play drive by the Trojans.
  • 1:35: After a six play, 26-yard drive, the Hilltoppers drive the offense to a 10 yard rushing touchdown by KD Hutchinson. 7-0, Hilltoppers.

Second Quarter

  • 6:09: After two drives resulting in back-to-back punts from Troy and WKU, the Trojans finally put points on the board following a long drive, resulting in a field goal. 7-3, Hilltoppers.
  • 2:17: Fumble part two! Trojan quarterback Gunnar Watson connects with receiver Deshon Stoudemire for a six-yard gain, only for Stoudemire to fumble, which is promptly recovered by defender Kylan Guidry.
  • 2:01: Fumble part three – Tops quarterback graduate senior Austin Reed hits junior Malachi Corley for a 14-yard strike, resulting in a Corley fumble, and recovered by Troy’s Keyshawn Swanson. 
  • 0:00: After back-to-back short drives resulting in punts from each offense, the Trojans work with 30 seconds and two timeouts to drive the ball 56 yards in five plays. To score, Watson hit receiver Chris Lewis for a 40-yard touchdown. 7-10, Trojans lead.

Third Quarter

  • 11:37: The Trojans opened the second half with a drive resulting in a punt…then immediately got a second chance with a special teams turnover on the punt. In four plays, Troy running back Kimani Vidal put in a 19-yard score. 17-10, Trojans lead.
  • 7:54: Austin Reed uses the third quarter drive to put on a passing clinic, completing four of his five attempts for 66 yards and touchdown, connecting with star receiver Corley on a 22 yard scoring strike. 14-17, Trojans lead.
  • 1:55: Back on the board again, Troy leads a late third quarter drive to put up a 26-yard field goal, extending the lead 14-20. 

Fourth Quarter

  • 14:07: Quick to respond with a field goal of their own, the Hilltoppers and Austin Reed lead a seven play, 69-yard drive where Corley garnered three receptions for 39 yards and receiver Easton Messer hauled in a single 35-yard catch. Ultimately, redshirt freshman kicker Lucas Carneiro continued his field goal streak, hitting another from 24 yards out. 17-20, Trojans lead.
  • 5:37: The lead is now extended to a dangerous extent, with the Trojans controlling the late-game possession for four minutes and 56 seconds. Running back Vidal punched in another Troy touchdown, all while rushing for 21 yards on three carries. 17-27, Trojans lead.
  • 4:03: Another drive, another fumble. Troy’s Vidal fumbles after a WKU four-and-out, giving the Hilltoppers another chance to score late.
  • 2:29: Touchdown! Reed puts up major gains with every completion, hitting Messer for 12- and 16-yard receptions, and redshirt freshman receiver Moussa Barry for a 24-yard advance. Messer’s 12-yard catch resulted in a score, aiding WKU’s effort in closing the gap. 24-27, Trojans lead.
  • 0:00: Following several runs and timeouts, Vidal ultimately runs for a first down following the final WKU timeout. Watson kneels, and the play clock rolls to zero. 


  • The Tops Stat Sheet:
    • Austin Reed, Quarterback: 23-for-39, 268 yards, and two passing touchdowns.
    • TEAM RUSHING: 12 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown, led by KD Hutchinson’s one carry for 10 yards and the lone rushing score.
    • Malachi Corley, Wide Receiver: Nine catches, 112 yards, and a receiving touchdown.
    • Deante McCray, Defensive End: Nine tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss.

With back-to-back losses, the Hilltoppers will hope to advance their home record to 3-0 as they host Middle Tennessee State in the infamous 100 Miles of Hate rivalry Sep. 28 at 6:30 p.m. CT. 

Football Reporter Derrick Deen can be reached at [email protected]

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