Jarret Doege went to Bowling Green, Kentucky, earlier this year with hope of winning a starting quarterback job at Western Kentucky. That plan didn’t work out well for him.

On Saturday, he returned to Western Kentucky as a member of the Troy football team. This trip worked out much better for the well-traveled quarterback.

Doege came off the bench when Troy starter Gunnar Watson went out with an injury and threw a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes to lead the Trojans to a 34-27 victory on the road at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

“I knew I was ready,” Doege said in a quote provided by Troy media relations. “I knew my teammates had faith in me and the coaches had faith in me. I had faith in myself. I put in the work. I pride myself on preparing to be the best player on the field. I just had a little feeling all week that this is going to be my time. I mean, you can't write it any better. I just kept preparing and waiting for my opportunity and took advantage.” 

Doege was just one Troy hero on a night that the Trojans beat a Western Kentucky team that was 3-1 coming in with the only loss coming in overtime at Indiana.

The Troy defense snapped the Hilltoppers’ streak of scoring at least 30 points in a game at 18 games. Linebacker Carlton Martial had 12 tackles and an interception. He moved within 59 tackles of setting the NCAA career record for tackles with 546. The Trojans had five sacks, including a strip sack by Richard Jibunor that was recovered by Antonio Showers to end the Hilltoppers' last offensive possession.

On offense, DK Billingsley had a career-best 122 yards with a touchdown. Watson was 15 of 28 for 202 yards and also caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tez Johnson.

But the story of the day had to be Doege, who left Western Kentucky in fall camp after losing the job to Austin Reed. Doege transferred to Troy two days later and won the job as backup quarterback. He came off the bench late in the third quarter on Saturday. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 71 yards and had touchdown throws of 16 yards to Jabre Barber and 10 yards to Johnson. The touchdown pass to Johnson gave Troy a 34-20 lead with 7:14 left.

Reed was 39 of 46 for 406 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. But it was Troy with the win.

“In the third quarter, it seemed like we had the guy go down and another guy goes down,” said Troy coach Jon Sumrall. “And then another guy goes down. But our guys kept responding. It's next man up, and we kept competing, kept fighting. Our backs were against the wall. We could have done some things better. I could have coached some things better, and our players could have done some things better. But I'll tell you what, I could not be prouder of the fight that we have on this football team.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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