Trojans take a big win

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

To begin a much-anticipated season, the Troy football team routed Austin Peay 57-17 Saturday in front of a crowd of 18,835 in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Trojans (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) recorded 706 yards of total offense, the most since 2012 and third all-time for a single game in school history. The home team rushed for 383 yards, a number not seen since 2008, while holding the Governors to only 254 total yards.

Troy set the tempo of the game early, as junior running back Jordan Chunn took the first offensive play 48 yards up the middle for the Trojans’ first score. Chunn collected 161 yards on 13 touches to go along with his touchdown, while four other Trojan players collected a rushing touchdown as well.

Junior quarterback Brandon Silvers completed 20 of his 27 attempts through the air and two touchdowns. Also getting playing time under center was true freshman Sawyer Smith, who was a perfect seven-for-seven, along with a touchdown on his first attempt through the air.

The Governors (0-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley) couldn’t seem to find a rhythm on offense, as they were consistently forced into long third-down situations. Austin Peay converted only 4 out of its 15 attempts for a first down.

With the score at 27-14 and just seconds left in the half, senior kicker Ryan Kay put away a 43-yard field goal to extend the Trojans’ lead going into the locker room.

The Governors’ halftime deficit got larger as the game progressed. The Trojans ran away with the game in the second half, outscoring Austin Peay 27-3.

Sophomore wide receiver Ismail Saleem had a career-high night, as his four receptions went for 106 yards and a score, leading all Trojan receivers.

Junior quarterback Tommy Hays went 8-for-12 for 124 yards through the air for the visitors, while James Coleman recorded 65 yards receiving and two touchdowns to highlight the Austin Peay offense.

As the final seconds ticked away, Troy stood on top 57-17, the most points a Troy squad has put up in a season opener since 1996.

“Our running attack, I thought we did a better job getting movement up front, better than we did at any point last year,” second-year head coach Neal Brown said after the game. “Jordan Chunn is ready to have a big year. Offensively, Brandon Silvers really managed the game well. I thought he threw the ball down the field probably better than he has at any point in his career.”

The Trojans will travel to Clemson on Saturday, Sept. 10, in a difficult road test against the No. 2-ranked Tigers.

The game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CDT and will be broadcast live on the ACC network and ESPN3.

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