Trojan Football sits alone atop East

Daniel Hunt

Staff Writer

In one of the most important Sun Belt Conference matchups all season, the Troy football team (8-2, 6-0 Sun Belt) took down Georgia Southern 35-21 on the road, solidifying its chance at a conference championship. 

Both teams came into the game with a 7-2 record and in control of their own destiny in the conference standings, but after suffering its third loss of the season, Georgia Southern’s (7-3, 4-2 Sun Belt) hopes of hosting the first Sun Belt Conference championship look to be over.

It was a rough start for Troy after scoring an early field goal in the first five minutes. Georgia Southern’s back-to-back touchdown drives closed the quarter with a 14-3 Eagles lead. 

The Trojans battled back and completed a 12-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that was punched in by Trey Eafford inside the Eagles’ 3-yard line. 

This came just minutes before the Trojans were bailed out by two wide receiver tosses thrown by Sidney Davis and Luke Whittemore to extend the drive. 

“We are not a very old football team, I guess, but we have a lot of experience,” said Head Coach Neal Brown. “Lot of guys have played big football games.

“I just think they didn’t blink. Get down 14 to 3, have the biggest drive we’ve had this season. I think it speaks to the resilience, belief and confidence our guys have.”

After getting on the board for the first touchdown, Troy showed just how good its offense can be as it scored 32 consecutive points to take a 35-14 lead into the fourth.

Troy forced Southern to punt the ball five times during the second and third quarters while allowing only four third-down conversions. 

With 11 minutes to play, Georgia Southern was able to answer with a touchdown on a drive that took just 1:17 off the clock, but it was too little too late for Southern despite Troy missing a field goal in the fourth quarter. 

Troy’s defense allowed just 21 points against one of the top Sun Belt teams this season. This moves Brown to 32-0 when leading into the fourth quarter. 

Carlton Martial led Troy defenders with eight tackles on the day, while Antoine Barker collected two of his team’s three sacks. 

B.J. Smith’s two rushing touchdowns on the day moved him to 12 on the season. Smith’s workload has gotten heavier as the season has progressed and now sits at 160 carries on the year. 

Sawyer Smith also followed up his impressive performance at home against Lafayette by going 21-for-28 through the air with 287 yards on the road in Statesboro. 

Troy will be back in action at Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2:30 p.m.

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