Trojans seek fifth Sun Belt title, revenge in road test against Arkansas State

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy football team will be traveling to Jonesboro, Arkansas, this week to face off with the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a game that has at least a share of the Sun Belt title on the line.

This is the 15th time Troy has played the Red Wolves and the 12th since the two joined the Sun Belt, with the Red Wolves holding a 9-5 advantage in the series.

Arkansas State has won the last four meetings and defeated the Trojans a year ago, giving the Red Wolves their second win over a top-25 team in school history.

This year, both teams enter the season finale tied for first in the Sun Belt with each team possessing a 6-1 conference record.

The winner will claim a share of the title and could win the conference outright if Appalachian State loses Saturday.

This game features the Sun Belt’s top-scoring offense in Arkansas State and the top-scoring defense in Troy.

The Red Wolves’ offense ranks 14th nationally in total offense with 486.9 yards per game, while the Trojans give up 315.9 yards per game, good for 17th best in the country.

Quarterback Justice Hansen leads the Arkansas State offense and heads the Sun Belt with a school-record 32 passing touchdowns.

Behind Hansen are running backs Warren Wand and Johnston White. The two make up about 21 carries for 111.3 rushing yards a game.

The backs run behind one of the strongest run-blocking offensive lines in the conference. The Red Wolves are 19th in the nation in standard down rushing and 34th in power rushing success.

The battle at the line of scrimmage will be a major factor, with Troy’s front seven coming in as the top unit in the Sun Belt. The group spearheads a defense that leads the Sun Belt in nearly every defensive category and is seventh nationally in rush defense.

Troy’s stuff rate — or the percentage of carries by running backs that are stopped at or before the line of scrimmage — is 27.6 percent. That figure is good for fourth best in the country, while the Trojans’ standard down sack rate is second in the nation.

On the other side, Troy’s offense exploded for 641 yards in last week’s 62-9 win over Texas State. It was the second time the Trojans tallied up over 600 yards this season. The last time Troy had two 600-yard performances was in 2013.

Senior quarterback Brandon Silvers had a career-high 380 passing yards last week to go along with a season-high four passing touchdowns.

Senior running back Jordan Chunn, who already holds the school record for career rushing touchdowns, is just 68 yards shy of breaking the school record for career rushing yards. Chunn has averaged 103.1 all-purpose yards per game thus far this year.

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