Coach Josh Dean’s young Kentucky State Thorobreds are growing up in a hurry.
That was evident Saturday as KSU responded from last week’s heartbreaking 26-21 home loss to Stillman to rip the Alderson Broaddus Battlers 49-20 at Alumni Stadium.
The Thorobreds improved to 3-2 with the non-conference victory against an Alderson Broaddus team that’s playing its first varsity season (the Battlers played six junior varsity games a year ago) in NCAA Division II.
This game was called after three quarters because of the volume of rain and lightning in the area, and was not as close as the final score indicates.
Kentucky State moved the ball up and down the field at will most of the day, while the Thorobreds’ defense lagely kept the Battlers in check.
Alderson Broaddus scored a late touchdown after intercepting a tipped pass by the Thorobreds.
The KSU offense mustered 391 yards of total offense, including 221 on the ground and 170 through the air.
The Thorobreds’ two-headed monster at running back, juniors Jacquise Lockett and Justin Williams, did their part. Lockett gained 135 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns. His three scores all came from a yard out.
Williams had 55 yards on 10 tries.
Junior quarterback Adam Robinson, meanwhile, also played very well, completing 7 of 14 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore Derek Woodmore led a balanced effort for KSU’s wide receivers, catching three passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Wideouts Clayton Patton and Troy Churchill also caught scoring passes for the winners.
“This was good,” Dean said of Saturday’s performance, coming off a Stillman game that saw KSU blow a two-touchdown lead and surrender the winning touchdown in the closing seconds. “The whole thing with the Stillman game was we had it in our grasp, and we just didn’t finish it. So to come back the way we did...
“This could have gone the other way. We could have gone in the tank. But we came out and responded.”
“We know we let one get away last week, but we didn’t really get down,” Robinson said. “We were bummed out Saturday night, but we knew we had another home game against a team that we had a really good shot to win against.
“We were ready to get after it and put up some big numbers, and I think we did that today.”
Kentucky State never trailed, taking the ball on the opening kickoff and driving 71 yards. Lockett broke off two long runs on the march before taking it in from the yard out for the score. Cade Berryman’s point-after kick made it 7-0 KSU.
The Battlers came right back to drive most of the length of the field, but they fumbled inside the KSU 10-yard-line and senior defensive end Alfred Gilbert recovered for the Thorobreds.
Alderson Broaddus came back with a 27-yard field goal by Jordan Butler, but then senior Jakar Turner ran back the kickoff 91 yards to put Kentucky State up, 14-3.
The Thorobreds pulled away from there. They added a 19-yard touchdown passes from backup quarterback Alex Springs to Woodmore early in the second quarter for a 21-3 lead.
Churchill caught a 33-yard TD pass from Robinson a minute later for a 28-10 edge.
The Thorobreds closed out the first half with another 1-yard TD run by Lockett and a 26-yard scoring pass from Robinson to Patton.
It was 42-10 KSU at halftime, and the two teams just played it out from there, sitting through a 75-minute weather delay in the late stages of the third quarter.
Dean was very encouraged by his team’s showing.
“The whole thing with us is making sure we’re consistent with how we play,” he said. “I think we carried that out. We came out a little slow to start the second half, but then we picked it up again. Overall I was pretty pleased.”
Both Dean and Robinson said the unsung heroes for KSU in this one was the Thorobreds’ veteran offensive line.
“Our offensive line has jelled,” Robinson said. “I thought they were pretty good coming out of spring ball, but the way they have jelled during the season has been fantastic to watch.”
“Oh man, it’s the running backs, but it’s also the offensive line,” Dean said. “We took great advantage of having a veteran offensive line.”
But all parties involved know the road gets tough in a hurry with Dean’s alma mater, Fort Valley State, coming Saturday for a 1:30 homecoming battle.
“They are going to be our toughest opponent to date,” Dean said of Fort Valley. “This game will be very important to us, looking at the big picture.
“We have some talent, and they’re starting to believe a little bit, so it’s starting to come together. That’s what I’m excited about.”
“I know they’re a good football team, and they’re going to bring it,” Robinson said of Fort Valley. “They’re going to give us their ‘A’ game, and we’ve got to match it.”
To see a photo gallery from this game, click here.