MOBILE, Alabama (WTVY) – Jordan Chunn rushed for three touchdowns and the Troy defense forced five Ohio turnovers as the Trojans defeated the Bobcats, 28-23, in the 2016 Dollar General Bowl Friday in Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Troy finished the season 10-3 marking the first time in the school’s FBS history that it reached the 10-win plateau. The Trojans finished with a six-win improvement from last season which is tied for the best turnaround in the country.
The Trojans never trailed in the game thanks to Chunn’s record-breaking night and a stout defensive performance led by Dollar General Bowl MVP Justin Lucas. Chunn set a Troy bowl record with his three rushing touchdowns, while his first touchdown of the night was the 35th of his career which set the all-time Troy rushing touchdown record.
Lucas recorded one of Troy’s four picks in the game in addition to tallying five tackles, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries. The Trojans held the Bobcats (8-6) to just six points in the second half and 78 rushing yards in the game; it marked the sixth time this season that Troy has held an opponent under 100 rushing yards.
Troy jumped out to a 28-17 lead on Chunn’s third touchdown of the game with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Bobcats drove into Troy territory on their next three possessions, but would have to settle for a pair Louis Zervos field goals on three attempts to close Troy’s advantage to 28-23 with 4:01 to play in the game.
Troy moved the ball to its own 42-yard line on the ensuing possession – the Trojans ran 89 seconds off the clock and forced Ohio to burn its final two timeouts of the game in the process.
Following a 42-yard punt by Ryan Kay, Ohio took over on its own 15-yard line with 2:20 to play. The Bobcats picked up one first down before the Trojans forced three straight incompletions and closed out the game with a fourth-down stop.
The Trojans wasted no time getting on the board as Brandon Silvers connected with Deondre Douglas for 47 yards down to the Ohio 1-yard line on Troy’s first offensive play of the game. Chunn punched it in on the next play at the Trojans led 7-0 just 1:26 into the game.
Ohio answered two possessions later to tie the game at 7-all before Chunn capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead after the opening quarter.
Chunn rushed for 56 yards on 20 carries, while Silvers finished 24-of-41 for 235 yards and a score through the air. Douglas finished with six catches for a career-high 113 yards, while Emanuel Thompson caught eight passes for 83 yards.
Kris Weatherspoon and Trevon Sanders both recorded the first interceptions of their Troy careers, while Cedarius Rookard picked off his third pass of the season. The Trojans were in the Bobcat backfield most of the night with six quarterback hurries, two sacks and five tackles for loss.
Zervos pulled the Bobcats within four, 14-10, with a 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but Troy answered with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Silvers to Thompson with 4:52 to play in the half.
Jordan Reid, who finished with 12 catches for 162 yards, closed the gap to 21-17 at the half with a 5-yard touchdown catch with 59 seconds to play in the half.
Greg Windham completed 23-of-47 attempts for 315 yards and two touchdowns, but threw four interceptions. Windham also led the Ohio rushing attack with 24 yards and 10 carries.
“We showed up and represented well and I’m very proud to represent the Sun Belt Conference. Our league is 4-1 in bowl games right now, which speaks to the level of play in our conference,” head coach Neal Brown said. “This is the first time in Troy’s Division I history that we’ve won 10 games and that’s something that the 16 seniors on our football team will always be proud of.”
Brandon Silvers moved into fourth place in Troy history with 23 touchdown passes after throwing one against Ohio. He also moved into fifth place on the single-season passing yardage list 3,180 and fourth place on the single-season completions list with 293.
• The 51 combined points between the teams is the lowest-scoring bowl game in Troy history; the previous low was Troy’s 34-21 loss in the 2004 Silicon Valley Bowl.
• Jordan Chunn set the Troy career rushing touchdown record in the game as he found the end zone on Troy’s second offensive play from scrimmage; Chunn now has 37 rushing touchdowns in his career.
• Jordan Chunn’s 18 points scored tied for the most in a bowl game in Troy history (DuJuan Harris, 2010 GMAC Bowl; Tebiarus Gill, 2010 New Orleans Bowl).
• Troy held Ohio to just 78 rushing yards in the game, which ranks as the second lowest in Troy’s bowl history
• Troy intercepted four passes in the game and finished the year with 22 interceptions, which ranks fifth in school history and second in Troy’s FBS history. Troy’s 22 interceptions rank as the second most currently in the FBS.
TROY – Chunn 1-yard run (Kay kick), 13:34, 1st 7-0
OHIO – White 44-yard pass from Windham (Zervos kick), 8:19, 1st 7-7
TROY – Chunn 3-yard run (Kay kick), 1:14, 1st 14-7
OHIO – Zervos 33-yard field goal, 13:20, 2nd 14-10
TROY – Thompson 11-yard pass from Silvers (Kay kick), 4:52, 2nd 21-10
OHIO – Reid 5-yard pass from Windham (Zervos kick), 0:59, 2nd 21-17
TROY – Chunn 4-yard run (Kay kick), 5:47, 3rd 28-17
OHIO – Zervos 47-yard field goal, 3:28, 3rd 28-20
OHIO – Zervos 37-yard field goal, 3:54, 4th 28-23