Head coach Larry Blakeney achieved his 100th victory at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 8, as the Troy football team defeated Georgia State 45-21.
The Trojans (2-8, 2-4 Sun Belt) never trailed in the game, and were able to dominate a Georgia State team that has also been struggling this season. Despite being without key defensive players, including senior linebacker Mark Wilson, Troy was able to halt the run game of Georgia State, something the Trojans have struggled doing against opponents this season.
The Panthers (1-9, 0-7 Sun Belt) had 394 yards of total offense, but whenever Georgia State mounted a promising drive, the Trojan defense stepped up with key turnovers and stops to keep the Panthers out of the end zone. In the first half alone, the defense picked off two passes from junior quarterback Nick Arbuckle, frustrating the offensive scheme of the Panthers.
The two teams traded touchdowns on their opening possessions of the game, and it looked as if the game might turn into a shootout, since both offenses found early success in the first quarter.
The story of the night was the Trojan defense, however, which allowed the offense to pile on the points as the Panthers’ offense remained on the sidelines.
After Georgia State’s first touchdown, Troy scored 21 unanswered points to gain control of the game, including a 30-yard run for a touchdown from redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Silvers, who leaped and flipped over a defender into the end zone.
Georgia State pulled within two touchdowns midway through the third quarter, when Arbuckle threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Lynquez Blair to make the score 28-14.
The Trojan defense stepped up after that, forcing the Panthers’ offense to punt on three of their final four drives of the game.
“Those linebackers inside, they haven’t played a lot of ball here, but we got away with it,” said Blakeney after the game. “The guys competed as hard as they could, and that is all that you can ask for.”
With the defense playing well, the Troy offense stepped up in a big way, with five different players rushing for a touchdown in the game. The offense scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to finish off Georgia State.
Senior running back Khary Franklin scored on a 32-yard touchdown run with 9:48 left in the game, putting the Trojans up for good, 45-14.
A late touchdown catch by Blair in the closing minutes made the score 45-21, and the Trojans won their second game of the season.
“There are a lot of things to consider, but we may have played our best game from a standpoint of execution and plans,” Blakeney said. “I think our coaches did a great job with their plans.”
Troy will make the trip to Moscow, Idaho, where the Trojans will play Idaho for their last road game of the season. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15.