LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — B.J. Smith scored on a 26-yard run midway through the fourth quarter and Will Sunderland made an interception in the final 3 minutes, giving Troy the cushion it needed to beat Nebraska 24-19 on Saturday and denying new Cornhuskers coach Scott Frost his first win.
The Huskers (0-2) have lost their first two games for the first time since 1957 and have dropped six straight home games since beating Rutgers Sept. 23, 2017.
The Trojans (2-1) of the Sun Belt Conference took down a power-five conference opponent for the second straight year. Last year they won at then-No. 25 LSU.
Sophomore walk-on Andrew Bunch, starting at quarterback for Nebraska in place of the injured Adrian Martinez, converted a fourth-and-8 while leading the Huskers on a 75-yard drive to pull Nebraska to 24-19 with 2:55 left.
But Sunderland stepped in front of his pass along the sideline intended for JD Spielman, starting the celebration on the Troy bench.
Troy got a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by Cedarius Rookard while getting out to a 17-0 lead and was up 17-7 at half. But the Trojans were teetering after Nebraska kicked field goals to cut it to 17-13 in the third quarter.
After the Trojans forced a punt early in the fourth quarter, they went 62 yards in 10 plays to make it a two-score game. Kaleb Barker converted two third-and-longs, passing on one and running on the other, and Nebraska safety Aaron Williams was called for pass interference on a third-and-9 to keep the Trojans’ drive alive. Smith broke through the line untouched on his way to the end zone on his TD run.
Troy: This is mostly a new cast of Trojans, but once again they showed they aren’t intimidated playing a blue blood opponent on the road. It’s the lift they needed after losing to Boise State in their opener and beating an FCS opponent last week.
Nebraska: The Huskers couldn’t get out of their own way. They had two turnovers and a missed field goal among their first five possessions, gave up the long punt return and had costly personal fouls on a Troy touchdown drive. Mohamed Barry was ejected for his head-on-head hit at the end of a run by backup quarterback Sawyer Smith.
Troy visits Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
Nebraska visits Michigan for its Big Ten opener Saturday.