Troy improves to 5-1

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy football team topped Georgia State 31-21 on Saturday, Oct. 15, advancing to a 5-1 record for the first time since 1999.

Troy (3-0 Sun Belt) played its homecoming game in the midst of the largest crowd to ever watch a Sun Belt matchup at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game drew 23,913 fans, students and alumni to watch the Trojans take on the Panthers (1-5, 1-2 Sun Belt) as part of Troy’s best start in its FBS history.

“This was a really tough matchup for us,” Head Coach Neal Brown said. “I think it shows we’re making growth. This was another point of adversity where our kids responded.”

Brown thanked everyone who came out to the game for creating a homecoming atmosphere that the players could feel.

In a sluggish first half, the Trojans got on the board with their first drive of the game. Despite penalties and a lack of rhythm, the Trojans drove close enough for senior kicker Ryan Kay to send a 39-yard field goal through the uprights.

Throughout the first half, both offenses had trouble gaining an upper hand with the game quickly proving itself to be a defensive battle.

The Trojans went just 4-for-11 on third down, but went a perfect two-for-two on fourth down. Neither team tacked on a score in the second quarter until the Trojans were able to piece together a 41-yard drive to the GSU 10.

As time expired in the first half, Ryan Kay kicked a 27-yard field goal, sending the teams to the locker rooms with a 6-0 Trojan lead.

Troy recorded 169 yards of total offense in the first half, one of its lowest totals so far this season.

After a lackluster first half, both teams turned it around for the final two quarters, Georgia State striking first.

After receiving the second-half kickoff, Panthers quarterback Conner Manning found junior receiver Todd Boyd and senior receiver Robert Davis for two scores. Despite the deficit, Troy bounced back late in the third, scoring 25 unanswered points of its own in under eight minutes.

The comeback started when Ryan Kay came out for his third field goal of the game. His attempt from 28 yards out put the Trojans back on the board.

Redshirt junior running back Jordan Chunn took advantage of an onside kick recovery, punching it in from three yards out. Silvers added to the score when he found running back Josh Anderson and sophomore receiver Deondre Douglas to tack on two scores through the air.

When the dust settled, the Trojans were back on top with the fourth quarter ticking away. The Panthers narrowed the gap in the fourth quarter with one more score, making the final score 31-21.

After the Trojans’ offensive turnaround, Silvers totaled 20 completions on 35 attempts for 235 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Manning finished the game 28-for-52 for 381 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The game marked the fifth consecutive game that the Trojan defense has picked off multiple passes in a game.

Following the win, Troy received 10 votes in Week 8’s edition of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Troy also received its first-ever vote for the AP Top 25 poll as well, being the only Sun Belt team to hold a vote in both polls.

The Trojans will take their undefeated conference record to Mobile in the Battle of the Belt on Thursday, Oct. 20. Kickoff at Ladd-Peebles Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.

ESPNU and the Troy Sports Radio Network will provide coverage.

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