Kentucky State’s football team knew Lincoln University would be looking to pass, and the Thorobreds were ready for it.
Lincoln University knew KSU used an air attack to win its season opener last week, and the Thorobreds were ready for that, too.
Using a balanced offensive attack, K-State won its home opener Saturday evening, beating Lincoln 43-27 at Alumni Stadium.
Lincoln’s Doug Cook went 30-for-47 for 317 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Lions’ 21-19 loss to Cheyney.
On Saturday the Thorobreds forced the Lions’ two quarterbacks into a 20-for-48 performance with two interceptions.
“We identified that early,” KSU coach Wayne Dickens said. “We had to put pressure on him, whether it was the true freshman (Cook) or the junior (Laquan Williams).
“We thought if we continued to put pressure on them we might force them into giving us a couple, and they tried.”
It was the Lions whose defense struck first, with James Foreman picking off KSU quarterback Jerrel Noland and returning the ball 39 yards for a touchdown. Kyle Jaski kicked the point after, and Lincoln led 7-0 with 12:55 left in the first quarter.
The Thorobreds’ Keith Massey returned the kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown, and the point-after kick by Cade Berryman tied the game at the 12:35 mark.
Six minutes later Noland scored from a yard out, and KSU went ahead 14-7.
The Thorobreds wouldn’t trail again.
Noland had a big game last week in KSU’s win over Central State, earning conference offensive player of the week honors.
He had another strong performance Saturday, going 15-22-1 for 205 yards despite being sacked seven times.
The balance on offense came with the running of senior Andrew Ramsey, who rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns after running for 130 yards last week.
“He’s back in form after his surgeries,” Dickens said. “It took a little while to get back, but hopefully he’ll be good for the rest of the season.”
Ramsey, who’s had surgery twice for knee injuries the past two years, gave KSU a 21-14 lead on a 1-yard run with 4:31 left in the second quarter.
Lincoln’s Gerald Swain pulled the Lions within a touchdown on a 3-yard scoring run just two minutes later, but Noland answered on a quarterback keeper for a touchdown just a minute before halftime.
Berryman put KSU up 31-14 with a 26-yard field goal with 7:38 left in the third, and Ramsey scored his second touchdown from nine yards out with 2:20 remaining for a 37-14 lead.
Swain closed out the Lions’ scoring on a 3-yard run 24 seconds before the third quarter ended, making the score 37-20.
Berryman accounted for all six of KSU’s points in the fourth quarter, hitting field goals from 43 and 39 yards. The freshman from Estill County was 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra-point attempts.
“I thought we kept our intensity and focus tonight,” Dickens said. “Bad things happened, but we kept playing, kept plowing, and good things happen when you keep at it.”
The Thorobreds had 205 yards through the air and 121 yards rushing.
Corey Spalding had 12 tackles, including three for loss, to lead KSU, and Terry Horton and Carlos Ware each had a sack.
William Leach Jr. had two tackles, and Deshon Floyd had a fumble recovery. Both players are from Frankfort.
KSU begins conference play this coming Saturday at home against Stillman College.