Troy routs Texas State 62-9 to move within one win of at least a share in the Sun Belt title

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy football team extended its win streak to five games and took one step closer to claiming at least a share in the Sun Belt Conference title after routing Texas State 62-9 on Friday.

With the win, the Trojans now need to beat Arkansas State in a Saturday night primetime game on ESPN2 to lay claim to at least a share in a conference championship along with Appalachian State. However, if the Mountaineers lose at home this week to Louisiana, Troy will possess sole ownership of the title with a win.

With a makeshift conference championship looming, the Trojans made their case against Texas State to be in the running for the trophy behind the play of senior quarterback Brandon Silvers and a consistent run game.

The Trojan offense exploded for 41 first-half points in its final home game of the season en route to the most points it has ever scored against an FBS opponent.

Silvers shredded the Bobcats’ defense to the tune of 380 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions on 22 of 30 completions.

Fellow senior Jordan Chunn also paved his way through the defense, rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Sophomore running back B.J. Smith also got in on the action, carrying the ball 12 times for 41 yards and a score of his own.

All in all, the ground game totaled 154 yards, marking the 16th time under Head Coach Neal Brown that the Trojans have rushed for 150 yards or more in a game. Under Brown, Troy is undefeated in such games.

With both facets of the offense clicking, the Trojans totaled 641 yards of offense to Texas State’s 300 when the dust settled.

Defensively, Troy maintained its status as one of just two FBS teams to have not given up more than 24 points in a game this season. The only other program that can say that is Wisconsin, which is in the hunt for a College Football Playoff spot.

Part of that defensive success came from Troy forcing four Bobcat turnovers — a feat that  is tied for the most in a game this season with Troy’s 24-21 victory over LSU earlier this season.

Coming off three straight losses, Texas State had no answer for Troy’s defense. In the first quarter, the Trojans held the Bobcats to minus-1 yards of offense. The next 15 minutes were similar as Troy extended its early lead in the absence of Texas State scores.

Troy slowed down offensively in the second half as Brown gave his backups playing time.

With the second- and third-string units in, Troy gave up a touchdown midway through the third quarter, but blocked the ensuing extra-point kick. That and a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter were the only points the Trojans allowed.

Offensively, backup quarterback Kaleb Barker led the Trojans in the second half with a rushing and passing touchdown that extended the lead and punctuated Brown’s first senior day victory at Troy.

With the win, Troy now looks forward to a showdown with fellow conference front-runner Arkansas State.

If Troy wins and Appalachian State loses, the Trojans win the Sun Belt. However, if Troy wins and Appalachian State loses, there is a strong likelihood that a six-win Louisiana will go to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the Trojans will make their second consecutive Dollar General Bowl appearance.

In any case, Troy will need to get through Arkansas State on Saturday, with kickoff in Jonesboro, Arkansas, scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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