Troy wins thriller vs Appy State, Trojans now 8-1

TROY, Ala. (troytrojans.com)  – Jordan Chunn scored from 11 yards out with 62 seconds remaining in the game and Troy’s defense held off a last-ditch effort by Appalachian State as the Trojans knocked off the Mountaineers, 28-24, Saturday night in a battle of Sun Belt Conference heavyweights in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

App State took a 24-21 lead with 3:29 to play in the game after Jalin Moore found the end zone on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Following a holding penalty on the kickoff, Troy started the eventual game-winning drive on its own 15-yard line.

A couple of quick strikes pushed the Trojans near midway, but Troy managed just four yards on its next three plays to set up a fourth-and-six on the Troy 46-yard line. Quarterback Brandon Silvers worked to the third read on his progression and found Sidney Davis on a wheel route for 43 yards to the App State 11-yard line. Chunn found the end zone on the next play to send The Vet into pandemonium.

Following the score, App State was able to move the ball to the Troy 38-yard line, but the Trojans came up with three straight stops, including a break up by Cedarius Rookard on the final play, to seal the victory.

Troy improves to 8-1 on the season and 5-0 in Sun Belt play; the Trojans have now won seven straight games, which is their longest winning streak since winning eight straight in 2009. App State falls to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Sun Belt.

Jordan Chunn became Troy’s ninth 1,000-yard rusher in school history as he finished with 129 yards to push his season total to 1,028 yards. He needs 310 yards over Troy’s final four games of the season (77.5 yards per game) to set the school’s single-season record.

After falling behind 14-0 in its last two games, Troy turned the tables and jumped out to a two-score lead on touchdowns from Chunn and Deondre Douglas in the first quarter.

Momentum flipped on a dime as Troy was driving looking for a three-score lead, but A.J. Howard stripped the ball from Sam Letton following a 6-yard completion at the App State 29-yard line and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown. After a Troy three-and-out, App State tied the game with a five-play drive capped by a 32-yard touchdown run from Moore.

The Mountaineers made it 17-straight points when Michael Rubino hit a 47-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.

Just as App State flipped the momentum with a big play, a big play got the crowd of 25,782 and the Troy sideline back in the game.

On a drive dominated by Silvers, the junior quarterback put an exclamation point on the proceedings with a 51-yard touchdown run as he kept the ball on an option play. Silvers accounted for all 73 yards on the drive as he rushed for 57 yards and threw for 16 yards.

Silvers finished 21-of-35 for 229 yards and a touchdown through the air and rushed for 56 yards on six carries. John Johnson led the Trojans with five catches for 59 yards, while Chunn and Douglas both finished with four catches.

Blace Brown intercepted his sixth pass of the season and Troy held App State to just 334 yards of total offense and 167 yards on the ground; the Mountaineers entered the game averaging 399.8 total yards and 220.6 rushing yards per game. Tyquae Russell led the Trojans with six tackles and also forced a fumble in the first half.

Taylor Lamb completed 14-of-28 passes for 167 yards for the Mountaineers. Troy became just the second team (Miami, Fla.) to hold either Moore or Marcus Cox under 100 yards rushing this season as they finished with 91 and 50 yards, respectively – they entered the game with 10 combined 100-yard rushing games.

Quotable

“I thought it was a great college football game,” Troy head coach Neal Brown said. “It was a great atmosphere. It’s been a huge week for Troy Athletics; breaking ground on the new facility before the game and then hosting this game, which is the biggest Sun Belt Conference game this late in the season in a long time. It opened up an even bigger game on Thursday night in front of a national audience.”

Turning Point

Quarterback Brandon Silvers showed off his wheels as he kept an option read and ran 51 yards for a touchdown to give Troy a 21-17 lead late in the third quarter. It was the longest run of Silvers’ career and the longest for a touchdown by a Troy quarterback since 2002.

Stat Geek

Running back Jordan Chunn found the end zone twice for the Trojans which marked his seventh straight game with a rushing touchdown; he had a streak of eight straight games with a rushing touchdown as a freshman.

Notable

• After recording two combined sacks in the first three games, Troy has recorded 23 sacks over the past six games after the Trojans had one sack against App State.

• Troy improved to 8-0 under Neal Brown when rushing for more than 150 yards; the Trojans finished with 187 rushing yards in the game.

• Troy extended its Sun Belt Conference winning streak to six games, which is the longest since the Trojans won 14 straight league games from 2008 to 2010.

• Attendance for the game was 25,782, which was the fifth largest in Veterans Memorial Stadium history and the largest in stadium history to watch a Sun Belt Conference game.

• Jordan Chunn finished the game with 129 rushing yards for his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season; he has rushed for over 100 yards in every other game this season.

On Tap

It doesn’t get any easier for Troy as the Trojans welcome Arkansas State to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. The Red Wolves have won five straight games – all in the Sun Belt – after going 0-4 in non-conference play. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and is scheduled to kickoff at 8:30 p.m.

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