Troy football picked up its first win of the season on Saturday, Sept. 12, when it defeated Charleston Southern 44-16 under the lights of Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Senior wide receiver Teddy Reuben caught two touchdown passes and returned a punt for another as the Trojans (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) gave first-year head coach Neal Brown his first win in front of a crowd of 17,517.
“It’s a special night for me with the initial win as a head coach.” Brown said after the game. “I would like to recognize our student body. They turned out with a huge crowd, and I thought they gave us a lot of energy.”
Reuben opened up the scoring with back-to-back touchdown receptions from sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers, who finished the game 19 of 28, passing for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The scores put the Trojans up 14-0 with 11:41 left in the first quarter.
Just as the home team began to break away, the Buccaneers (1-1, 0-0 Big South) took advantage of excellent field position, cutting the lead to seven with a three-yard touchdown reception by junior running back Darius Hammond.
Senior running back Brandon Burks helped the Trojans get back on track with a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Burks finished the game with 14 carries for 50 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a lackluster quarter for Troy, however, as it struggled to convert on third downs. The offense was given multiple opportunities by the defense to run away with the game, but penalties and failure to convert kept CSU in the game.
The Buccaneers’ defense forced a safety in the closing minutes of the second quarter, making the score 21-9 at halftime.
In the end, however, it was the Trojans who came away with the victory after dominating the second half. Troy scored 23 unanswered points, putting the game out of CSU’s reach.
Burks picked up his second touchdown of the night in high-flying fashion, leaping over a tackler to score on a six-yard run. The point-after was no good, making the score 27-9.
Senior kicker Jed Solomon added a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, followed by a 64-yard punt return from Reuben. A 47-yard run and score from sophomore running back Andre Flakes closed out scoring for the Trojans, as they bounced back from their tough loss on the road last week at NC State.
Charleston Southern added a late touchdown of its own from freshman running back Kalen Fraise, making the final score 44-16 with the Trojans on top.
“Like I told the guys, 365 days with 12 opportunities,” Brown said. “Two of them are down. We’re 1-1, and we’re going to celebrate tonight. I think it’s been November since they’ve celebrated a win, so I want them to enjoy it.”
Troy returns to the gridiron on Saturday, Sept. 19, when it plays at Wisconsin. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.