BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – It didn’t come as a surprise when Western Kentucky turned to the nation’s top rusher with the game hanging in the balance. In dramatic fashion, Troy’s defense stopped Antonio Andrews to preserve a 32-26 win at Houchens-Smith Stadium on Saturday.
On fourth-and-short, Camren Hudson halted Andrews short of the first down maker deep in Troy territory with 1:33 left in the game. Andrews ran for 144 yards on 28 carries in the game and leads the nation in rushing.
“That was a huge play by our defense. (Andrews) is a great back and he had a good game against us. I was proud of the way our players responded in the second half,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “I told the guys at halftime that nothing was going to magically happen, we had to go out there and make plays and cover our assignments. I think they did a better job of that in the second half than in the first.”
With Troy trailing early in the fourth quarter, freshman Jordan Chunn scored his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run. Eric Thomas completed his first career pass on the successful two-point conversion to B.J. Chitty to give the Trojans the lead for good. Chunn, who has eight scores on the season, has rushed for multiple touchdowns in three of the last four games.
Corey Robinson was 20-for-32 passing for 306 yards and a touchdown. It was the 23rd career 300-yard passing game of Robinson’s career. The senior also moved into 17th in NCAA history in passing yards (12,453), 13th in completions (1,082) and 12th in passing attempts (1,669).
The Trojans offense was held to just 26 offensive plays while Western Kentucky chewed up 20:25 of the clock compared to only 9:35 for Troy.
Entering the game, Troy’s defense had recovered just one fumble despite forcing 16. That statistic took a positive turn on Saturday as Tyler Roberts forced the ball loose on a sack of WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty with 4:06 left in the first quarter and returned it 16 yards. It was the first fumble recovery of Roberts career. Hudson would later recover a fumble on a botched handoff from Doughty.
The teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter with Will Scott making a 41-yarder to tie the game with 6:11 left in the opening quarter. Chunn would score five minutes later on a 1-yard plunge to give the Trojans a 10-3 lead.
The second quarter was all Western Kentucky as the Hilltoppers offense trudged downfield and score 17 unanswered points including two field goals from Garrett Schwettman, who made four field goals in the game.
Troy came out swinging in the second half with Robinson completing his first two passes including a 15-yard strike to Chris Williams to put the Trojans in WKU territory. The drive would be halted however when Robinon’s deep strike to Eric Thomas was intercepted.
Three plays Hudson’s fumble recovery handed the ball back to the Trojan offense, Robinson found Chris Williams behind the Hilltopper secondary for a 40-yard touchdown strike. The score gave Robinson sole possession of the Sun Belt Conference record for career touchdown passes with 77. The play was also the seventh touchdown pass of over 40 yards this season.
“We had a lot of people out there playing for something other than themselves tonight, they were playing for Troy. A lot of unselfishness tonight,” Blakeney said. “I’m really happy to get a win but I’m more proud of our guys.”
Deon Anthony gave the Trojans a temporary 24-23 lead with a 9-yard touchdown run with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
Thomas would catch five passes for 74 yards but had his 8-game streak with a touchdown reception snapped.
Chris Pickett (13) and Mark Wilson (10) would set new career highs for tackles.
Troy will return home to face conference foe ULM in a Halloween night showdown on Oct. 31 at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game is set for a 6:30p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ESPNU.