A look back: top 10 Trojan football wins since 2016

Scott Shelton

Sports Editor

In my four years of college, Troy’s football team has compiled a record of 36-10. I can’t take credit for the program’s success, but the past four years have produced some special moments. Here is a timeline of my favorite Trojan football wins of my college career.

Oct. 20, 2016: Troy 28, South Alabama 21

After losing a tight game to No. 2 Clemson, Troy rolled off four wins in a row by an average of 21 points. Then, the Trojans traveled to South Alabama and found themselves in trouble early. The Jaguars put up 21 first-half points, and two Ryan Kay field goals kept the Trojans within eight points going into the locker room. In the second half, the defense stepped up and shut out the Jaguars to zero points. This opened the door in the second half for the Trojans to take advantage. Troy put together two drives of 80 yards or more capped off by a pair of Jordan Chunn touchdowns to take a 28-21 win in the Battle for the Belt. Troy hadn’t beaten South Alabama since 2013, so bringing the trophy back to Troy was a milestone in the 2016 season.

Nov. 12, 2016: Troy 28, Appalachian State 24

In my freshman year, this was the closest home game of the season. On Military Appreciation Day, the Trojans found themselves in a back-and-forth battle with Appalachian State, which was one of the best teams in the Sun Belt Conference. With about three minutes remaining, the Trojans found themselves down 24-21 with the ball on their own 15-yard line. A game-winning drive was needed, and it was delivered. On fourth down from the Troy 46-yard line, quarterback Brandon Silvers found wide receiver Sidney Davis on wheel route deep inside Mountaineer territory. One play later, running back Jordan Chunn scored the go-ahead touchdown to seal the 28-24 win for the Trojans. Following this game, Troy (8-1) entered the Associated Press’ Top 25 and became the first team in Sun Belt Conference history to do so.

Sept. 30, 2017: Troy 24, LSU 21

“We just beat LSU” is a phrase Trojan fans will remember for generations to come. On this day, the team went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and beat a nationally ranked LSU team. Troy had played LSU twice before and nearly defeated the Tigers back in 2008. This game proved to be a symbol of redemption as the Trojans didn’t win by a fluke. On the first play from scrimmage, the defense forced a fumble, and a minute later, Silvers put the ball in the end zone. The team never looked back. After racing to a 17-0 lead, the Trojans fended off LSU’s late surge and had a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter. On the last play of the game, Blace Brown intercepted Danny Etling’s pass, leading to one of Barry McKnight’s most famous calls.

Nov. 24, 2017: Troy 62, Texas State 9

This is one of the most special wins for me because this game took place on my birthday. On a sunny Friday afternoon, the day after Thanksgiving, the Trojans had their best offensive output of the season. On Senior Day, the offense could not be stopped, and the Bobcats looked like they were standing still. In the first quarter, the Trojans quickly put up 17 points. Two more touchdowns in the second quarter turned the game into a 31-0 blowout. With under a minute remaining before halftime, Brown kept his foot on the gas pedal, and Chunn scored a 43-yard touchdown. Because of his aggressiveness, my friend, Gehrig, gave the head coach a new nickname: No Kneel Neal. The Trojans scored 21 more points in the second half and earned their ninth win of the season in style.

Dec. 2, 2017: Troy 32, Arkansas State 25

A week after defeating Texas State, the Trojans headed to Jonesboro, Arkansas, with the opportunity to win the program’s first Sun Belt Championship since 2010. They didn’t let the opportunity slip. The Red Wolves drew first blood with a field goal, which was immediately followed by a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by freshman Marcus Jones. Jones had a knack for doing this as he recorded two in one game earlier in the season against Coastal Carolina. In the fourth quarter, the freshman All-American intercepted Justice Hansen’s pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. A touchdown from Silvers to Deondre Douglas with 17 seconds left gave the Trojans a 32-25 lead and brought the Sun Belt Championship back to Troy.

Dec. 16, 2017: Troy 50, North Texas 30

How can a team and its fans celebrate a championship better than taking a visit to New Orleans and playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome? Troy took on North Texas, and this game meant a little more to me because I attended the game with my sister, who was a North Texas student at the time. In this game, Silvers may as well have been Drew Brees as he ended his Trojan career in style with 305 yards passing and four touchdowns. This was a breakout game for wide receiver Damion Willis, who would have a stellar 2018 season. Willis had 11 receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns. A 21-3 third quarter for the Trojans was the difference in the game as the Trojans put up 50 points in the game. North Texas scored 30 points, which was the first time in the 2017 season Troy’s defense allowed 30 or more points in a game.

Sept. 15, 2018: Troy 24, Nebraska 19

When they defeated LSU, the Trojans earned the title of “Giant Killers.” Almost a year later, they cemented the name in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. The Cornhuskers had just hired UCF coach Scott Frost, who led the Golden Knights to a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. In Frost’s second game as head coach, Troy defeated Nebraska in a similar fashion to the Trojans’ win against LSU. The Trojans took an early 17-0 lead and held off a surge from the Cornhuskers. A fourth-quarter touchdown run from B.J. Smith put the Trojans up 24-13, and the lead was insurmountable. Will Sunderland sealed the victory for the Trojans after he picked off Andrew Bunch. For the second-consecutive season, the Trojans went on the road and dominated one of college football’s storied programs.

Oct. 23, 2018: Troy 38, South Alabama 17

When adversity hits teams, the way they respond speaks to their character and discipline. On a Thursday night game against Georgia State, junior quarterback Kaleb Barker tore his ACL and was done for the season. After a non-conference loss to Liberty, the Trojans had to regroup for an important matchup against arch-rival South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Backup quarterback Sawyer Smith grew up about an hour from Mobile, and in his second career start, he shone with three passing touchdowns and an additional score on the ground. Troy never trailed in the game, and the defense held South Alabama to zero points in the second half. After a shocking upset in the previous year’s Battle for the Belt, the Trojans brought the trophy and bragging rights back to Troy.

Nov. 9, 2019: Troy 49, Georgia Southern 28

The 2019 season had its ups and downs, but the last two games on this list featured some of the best football the Trojans played all season. Georgia Southern was coming off a win over Appalachian State. The Mountaineers were the first Sun Belt Conference team ever to be ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. Riding high off a Halloween win, the Eagles came to Veterans Memorial Stadium and saw a four-game winning streak snapped. The Eagles thrive on the run game, but on this day, they could only manage 152 rushing yards. The Trojans gained 273 yards on the ground and 330 through the air in one of the best overall performances of the season. The defense saw its struggles in the season, but against the Eagles, the Trojans recorded nine sacks for a total loss of 49 yards.

Nov. 16, 2019: Troy 63, Texas State 27

In 2017, the Trojans put up 62 points on Texas State. In 2018, the Trojans only mustered 12 points. In 2019, the Men of Troy were back to form. It only took 30 minutes of gameplay for the offense to put up 35 first-half points and put the game away early. Barker threw for five touchdowns in the first half, and his sixth score in the third quarter tied the program’s single-game record for touchdown passes in a game. Barker finished with 363 yards and completed 30 of 43 pass attempts in one of the most impressive outings of his stellar senior season. Three touchdowns for the Trojans in the fourth quarter, including a pick six from Carlton Martial, led to 63 points, which was the most ever in a Sun Belt game in program history.

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