The Troy football team laid claim to the top spot in the Sun Belt Conference with a last-second thriller against Appalachian State, winning 28-24 Saturday.
The Trojans (8-1, 5-0 Sun Belt) strengthened their resume for a national ranking after topping the Mountaineers (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) at home in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Junior running back Jordan Chunn also made his mark on history, becoming the ninth Trojan to rush for 1,000 yards racking up 129 yards on the ground Saturday.
Troy got on the board first after a 10-play, 76-yard drive led by Chunn. Quarterback Brandon Silvers found Tevaris McCormick for a 30-yard long ball, allowing Chunn to punch in his 30th career touchdown run.
With a 7-0 lead, the Trojan defense forced a turnover on downs on the next drive. Silvers did the rest, as he found multiple receivers on the way to the end zone.
Sophomore receiver Deondre Douglas capped off the drive by catching Silvers’ pass on a fade route in the end zone. That score gave Troy a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Mountaineer defense chipped away at the Trojan lead during the second quarter, as A.J. Howard took a fumble 71 yards to the house and put his team on the board. Appalachian State reached the end zone again three minutes later, thanks to a 32-yard run by Mountaineer back Jalin Moore.
After both sides trading punches, the first half came to a close with the teams locked a 14 points each.
With the second half underway, Appalachian State began to find its rhythm in the running game. After repeated attempts on the ground, the Mountaineers drove close enough for Michael Rubino to send a 47-yard field goal through the uprights.
Appalachian State took the lead for the first time, 17-14.
Troy answered with less than two minutes left in the third quarter to take the lead right back. Brandon Silvers tacked on the longest run of his career, going 51 yards on the ground for a touchdown.
After Ryan Kay’s extra point, Troy reclaimed the lead 21-17 just as the fourth quarter began.
With under four minutes left to play, Appalachian State capped off a 55-yard drive with another Moore touchdown from five yards out. With this score, the Mountaineers took a 24-21 lead.
Troy’s game-winning drive came with under a minute remaining. The Trojans converted on a fourth down, allowing Chunn to cap off the 85-yard drive with his second rushing touchdown of the night.
This score sealed the victory for the Trojans, and they escaped 28-24.
Troy looks ahead to the coming week for a Thursday night showdown against the only other undefeated conference opponent, Arkansas State. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.