Trojans roll past UMass 52-31, now 7-1

TROY, Ala. (troytrojans.com)  – Brandon Silvers accounted for four touchdowns and the Troy defense was credited with five sacks as the Trojans moved to 7-1 on the season with a 52-31 victory over UMass Saturday night in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Silvers threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score in Troy’s final non-conference game of the season. John Johnson accounted for a pair of touchdowns as he became the first Troy player since Jerrel Jernigan in 2008 to throw a touchdown pass and catch another, while Jordan Chunn picked up his 29th rushing touchdown of the season.

Troy fell behind by 14-points for the second straight week after UMass (2-8) struck on its first drive of the game and then took advantage of a short field following a Trojan turnover.

The Trojans answered with three straight touchdown drives – all in the first quarter – to take a 21-14 lead; one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.

Troy’s lead grew to 28-17 at the half following a UMass field goal and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Silvers to Johnson.

UMass pulled within four, 28-24, on its first drive of the second half, but Ryan Kay booted a 21-yard field goal and Johnson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tevaris McCormick following a fumbled kickoff to put the game out of reach.

Silvers added his third touchdown pass – a 16-yard strike to Andre Flakes – in the fourth quarter on his final drive of the game, and freshman quarterback Sawyer Smith capped the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run.

Troy held UMass to just 44 rushing yards in game, and the Trojans have now held opponents to under 100 yards rushing in five of eight games this season – tied for the third most in the school’s FBS history.

The five sacks recorded by the Trojans – all by five different players – continued a recent trend by the Troy defense, which now has 22 sacks over the past five games. Blace Brown intercepted his fifth pass of the season after entering the game ranked second nationally with 0.7 interceptions per game.

Silvers, who picked up his third three-touchdown game of the season, spread the ball around to a 12 different receivers, which tied a season high. Emanuel Thompson led the charge with five catches for 50 yards and a score, while Sam Letton and Deondre Douglas both had four catches for 49 yards.

Quotable

I think it’s (being ranked) always a byproduct of winning,” Troy head coach Neal Brown said. “I think if we keep winning, especially next week, we should see our name. If we continue to play disciplined football and continue to get better, that will lead to wins and wins will lead to being ranked.”

Turning Point

Following a Ryan Kay 21-yard field goal, UMass fumbled the ensuing kickoff return and John Johnson threw a touchdown pass to Tevaris McCormick on the first play following the fumble to extend Troy’s to 38-24 with 1:39 to play in the third quarter.

Stat Geek

Jordan Chunn rushed for a touchdown in his sixth straight game … Chunn had a streak of eight straight games with a touchdown his freshman season, which was the third-longest active streak in the nation.

Notable

• Brandon Silvers moved into sole possession of fourth place in Troy history with 59 career touchdowns responsible for; he passed both Omar Haugabook and Brock Nutter.

• Troy increased its interception total to 15 on the season, which is tied for the fifth most in Troy’s FBS era.

• Troy scored a touchdown on its final three possessions of the first quarter; it marked the second time this year (New Mexico State) that Troy scored a touchdown on three straight possessions.

Up Next

Troy will play host to Appalachian State in one of the most highly anticipated games in Sun Belt Conference history. Troy enters the game 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Sun Belt, while App State is 7-2 overall and 5-0 in the Sun Belt; the Mountaineers topped the Trojans in triple-overtime last season.

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