Indianapolis, Ind.- An explosive and exciting fourth quarter comeback paved the way for a 17-14 overtime victory for Kentucky State University (KSU) football in the Circle City Classic against SIAC rival Central State University (CSU) on Saturday at the Lucas Oil Stadium.


“I feel great and I’m happy for our kids,” said head coach John L. Smith. “In my mind, this game shouldn’t have been close due to all the mistakes we made, but thank goodness for our defense; they kept us in it throughout the day.”

Entering the fourth quarter, KSU failed to put points on the board, but after the defense had pinned CSU deep into their territory with 9:50 on the clock, momentum had shifted for the Thorobreds. Senior running back Reginal Harris returned the punt 20 yards to the CSU 35 where sophomore quarterback Cort Groathouse led the offense out onto the field.

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On third and 11 from the CSU 21-yard line, Groathouse found Harris for a 12-yard pass and catch completing only the second, third down conversion of the day for KSU. The Marauder defense held, forcing a fourth and goal from the two-yard line. Groathouse took a low snap, eluded pressure and rolled to his left, finding senior wide receiver Jakar Turner for a diving catch in the corner of the end zone, cutting the lead in half at 14-7.

The KSU defense spent the day causing problems for CSU, only allowing one score and 201 yards of total offense, but no stand was bigger than the one following the KSU score.

After forcing a three and out, CSU punter Isiah Smith set up from the Marauder 16-yard line. Smith received the snap but junior running back Lavelle Cloyd fought through blockers to block the punt attempt and senior safety Vincent Edwards fell on the football in the end zone to tie the game with 3:42 left to go in regulation.

“I kept telling Cloyd all week we would get him one, and sure enough he broke through, and it resulted in a touchdown,” said Smith.

Following an interception by senior safety Raymond Malone with 00:32 left to play the KSU offense couldn’t capitalize on the final position.

CSU began the overtime period with the football, and the door was shut once again by the KSU defense, as they didn’t allow a single yard during the CSU position and no points.

Starting at the Marauder 25-yard line, the Thorobreds fed senior running back Darmontre Warr on five straight plays, driving to the six-yard line. Senior kicker Bill Rose followed up with a 23-yard field goal to seal the first victory of the season for KSU.

Warr finished the day as the leading contributor to the KSU offense with 70 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Sophomore wide receiver Demetrius Anderson led the way with six receptions and 50 receiving yards.

Two defenders wrapped up double-digit tackles for KSU. Senior linebacker Travon Spencer picked up a game-high 15 tackles, with nine of those being solo and a sack. Freshman defensive lineman Myrthel Stewart Jr. followed the lead of his senior caption with 12 tackles and eight solos, plus a sack. Junior defensive lineman Donovan Cecil finished third in tackles with nine and one sack.

KSU will travel to Valdosta State University on October 1; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.