With two back-to-back tough losses, Kentucky State has some fast learning to do.
Following a 41-0 loss to Virginia State University Sept. 21, the Thorobreds fell 26-21 to Stillman College after a touchdown in the last 40 seconds Saturday night at Alumni Stadium.
Stillman quarterback Josh Straughan threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Octavian Ford with just 36.6 seconds left after the Tigers trailed the entire game, including 14-0 at halftime.
“We had to come out fast and ready, and we did that,” KSU head coach Josh Dean said. “We executed and got up 14-0, but it’s a process … Now we have to learn how to finish. We have one part here and one part there.”
Straughan completed 19-of-32 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. The Tigers went to the air as they finished with 396 total passing yards and only 5 rushing yards.
On the other side of the field, KSU used its running game to hammer 193 yards on the ground. The Thorobreds rode junior Jacquise Lockett, who scored all of the team’s touchdowns.
Lockett finished the game
with 140 yards and three touchdowns, despite the Thorobreds being held to only 32 yards in their last start.
Lockett scored twice in the second quarter — on a 17-yard run and 7-yard rush. Cade Berryman added both the extra points.
At the end of the first half, Kentucky State led 14-0 over Stillman.
The Tigers (3-1, 2-0) added their first score of the game when Straughan threw at 14-yard strike to sophomore Hudson Cain with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter. Donald Jackson’s extra point made it 14-7 KSU.
The Thorobreds (2-2, 1-1) continued to ride Lockett into the fourth quarter as the junior ran in his third touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10:53 left in the game.
“I thought he played well,” Dean said of Lockett. “Both of our backs are pretty banged up and we didn’t know if we would have them both. They both really stepped up tonight. They have been battling some injuries and bruises.”
Fellow running back Justin Williams rushed 13 times for 60 yards.
But from there, it was the Straughan show.
The sophomore quarterback threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to overtake the Thorobreds.
Dondre Purnell caught a 56-yard touchdown pass with 9:53 to play. Jackson’s extra point was blocked. Charles Payne caught a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull the Tigers within two. The two-point conversion by Torrance Moise was picked off by KSU as KSU led 19-21 with 7:17 to play.
On the Thorobreds’ next drive, KSU ate up 3 minutes of clock but was forced to punt.
Stillman took over the ball at its own 37-yard line with 2:32 on the clock, completing 10 plays that covered 63 yards for Ford to score on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Jackson added the extra point.
“It’s funny that we believe our secondary is our strength,” Dean said. “Some days you come out and play, and we didn’t. We were in the position to make some plays, but we didn’t execute. We’ll look at it and clean it up. We’ll improve it. I believe in every difficult loss, there’s something to learn.”
Purnell led all players in all-purpose yards with seven catches for 154 receiving yards and 89 on kick returns.
Kentucky State junior quarterback Adam Robinson went 17-for-26 with 140 yards. KSU receiver Clayton Patton had a team high seven catches for 72 yards.
Stillman’s Robert Crosby led both teams in total tackles with 12, followed by Kentucky State’s Terry Horton with nine.
The Thorobreds host non-conference opponent Alderson-Broaddus College 1 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Stadium.