Trojans fend off NMSU 27-24

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy football team picked up its second consecutive win of the season, downing conference foe New Mexico State on the road 27-24.

The Trojans (2-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the third quarter, but the Aggies soon chipped away at the lead, casting the fourth quarter into uncertainty. Despite facing a high-flying passing offense in the second half, the Trojan defense forced three-and-outs on two of the Aggies’ last three drives to preserve the lead.

“This (New Mexico State team) was a really good college football team,” said Head Coach Neal Brown after the game. “I really believe that’s a bowl team right there.

“Defensively, we got two key stops in the fourth quarter. I can’t say enough about our offensive line and our running backs. We ran six minutes off the clock; we really managed the game well in the fourth quarter.”

Troy was the first to find the end zone after quarterback Brandon Silvers found Damion Willis for a nine-yard touchdown toss with 11:38 remaining in the first quarter.

The Aggies quickly answered on the ensuing possession with a score of their own. Dylan Brown’s 26-yard field goal was the only Aggie score until midway through the third, allowing Troy to continue to cushion its lead in the meantime.

After a scoreless second quarter, Troy’s duo of running backs in Jordan Chunn and Jamarius Henderson each scored on runs from three yards out during the third quarter. As the game clock read 12:27 remaining in the third, Troy held a commanding 20-3 advantage.

That’s when the Aggie offense started to come alive.

New Mexico State resorted to the pass attack after halftime when Aggie quarterback Tyler Rogers tallied two scores through the air, scoring 13 unanswered points to come within four.

Despite the Aggies scoring touchdowns on three of their five second-half possessions, the Trojan defense held a very pass-heavy New Mexico State team to just 382 yards of total offense — 142 yards shy of the Aggies’ season average through three games.

Silvers and the Trojan offense fired back as the third quarter was ticking away. Silvers saw a hole on the right side of the defense and scrambled untouched for a 32-yard score.

Now trailing 27-16 in the fourth quarter, New Mexico State managed to get one more score. Rogers threw his third touchdown pass to make the score 27-24. Troy drained the remaining six minutes off the clock to escape Las Cruces, New Mexico, with the victory.

Troy racked up 469 yards of total offense behind Silvers, the Sun Belt Player of the Week. Silvers completed 25 of his 40 attempts for 286 yards and one score. Chunn also carried the Trojan offense with his 20 carries for 87 yards and a score.

Troy will return home Saturday to host Akron for Military Appreciation Day, Troy Preview Day and Band Day. Kickoff at Veterans Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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