Trojans bounce back to dismantle Georgia State in Atlanta

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy football team picked up its second Sun Belt win of the year, turning in 457 yards of total offense to steal a homecoming win from Georgia State on Saturday.

The game was only the second played in Georgia State’s newly renovated stadium, which was the previous home of the Atlanta Braves as Turner Field. With the win, the Trojans are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible heading into next week’s homecoming game against Georgia Southern.

“We played our most complete game on Saturday,” said Head Coach Neal Brown afterward. “I think our players prepared and performed well on Saturday, by far our best week of preparation of the season.”

The Trojans stumbled early on their opening drive, with quarterback Brandon Silvers throwing his fourth interception of the season to the Panther defense. Despite the short field for the Panthers, that turnover led only to a Georgia State field goal with 11:54 remaining in the opening quarter.

Troy regained the advantage just minutes later, however, when Silvers found wide receiver John Johnson for a 49-yard score through the air. One juggling catch and a spin move later, the Trojans were leading 7-3 with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter. The score was also the first of 34 unanswered points from the Trojans until Georgia State found the end zone with under one minute left in the game.

Offensively, the Trojan offense racked up its highest numbers since the Akron game in mid-September. Silvers threw for two scores and 335 yards on 25 attempts. With those TD passes, Silvers brought his season total to four so far.

On the ground, Troy rushed for 122 yards on 22 attempts, which was good enough for 5.5 yards per carry. The Trojans were also able to score twice through the run game.

“We haven’t been in a rhythm like that in a long time,” Silvers said afterwards. “We looked like the old offense we were last year today.”

Silvers and wide receiver Deondre Douglas teamed up to turn in two second-quarter scores as Douglas’ six-yard reception was good for a touchdown with 14:16 remaining. Later in the quarter, Douglas scored from 35 yards out on a reverse handoff on fourth and two.

Following a productive half for the offense, the Trojans headed to the locker room with a 21-3 advantage.

The second half followed the same script as the first as Troy scored after just three minutes of play. Running back Josh Anderson picked up his second rushing touchdown of the season in what was Troy’s final trip to the end zone.

The final scores for the Trojans came from redshirt freshman kicker/punter Tyler Sumter. Sumter, Troy’s starting punter through six games, made the move to field goal kicker Saturday for the first time in his collegiate career.

Both of his attempts went through the uprights.

Sumter sent a 27- and a 21-yarder through the uprights during the third and fourth quarters, respectively, to seal the game for Troy, going 2-2 on field goals and 4-4 on extra points.

With the score 34-3, the Panthers then consumed 8:50 from the game clock to piece together a 20-play touchdown drive, which ended with a touchdown pass from quarterback Conner Manning.

This Saturday, Troy is set to host Georgia Southern for the Trojans’ 2017 homecoming game.

Kickoff for the Sun Belt matchup is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Stadium, with ESPN3 providing coverage.

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