TROY, Ala. – Eric Thomas hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Corey Robinson and Will Scott knocked through the extra point with seven seconds left to lift Troy to a 34-33 Homecoming victory over South Alabama on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
It appeared Troy’s Jeremy Spikner had put a cap on the game with 48 seconds left when he made a break on Ross Metheny’s pass down the Jaguars’ sideline. The ball slipped through Spinker’s hands and fell squarely into the grasp of receiver Jereme Jones, who raced 65-yards for the score to give South Alabama a 33-27 lead. The score capped a drive that started at the Jaguars own 1-yard line.
“Coach [Blakeney] told me if I don’t catch it, nobody should catch it. I just made sure I came down with the ball,” Thomas said of the game-winning catch. “I knew the safety blitzed and I had [one-on-one] coverage. I knew once the ball was in the air I had a chance to go get the ball. We practice that situation every day.”
On the third play of the second quarter, quarterback Deon Anthony found Thomas streaking down the Trojans sideline and connected for a 62-yard touchdown. With his 25th career touchdown reception, Thomas passed FIU’s T.Y. Hilton to reset the league’s all-time benchmark. It was also the seventh consecutive game that Thomas has caught a touchdown pass, which is tied for the longest active streak in the nation.
Thomas finished the game with 129 yards on five receptions and a pair of scores. Robinson would pass for 210 yards on 20 of 26 passing with two touchdowns. Anthony was 4-for-8 for 95 yards and threw two touchdowns.
The Trojans (3-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) converted a pair of third downs on the game’s opening drive en route to a 12-play, 73-yard march to the end zone capped by an 8-yard scoring strike from Anthony to Bryan Holmes.
South Alabama (2-3, 1-1) responded with a 12-play drive of its own on its ensuing possession, this one spanning 75 yards and ending with a 5-yard touchdown run by Cris Dinham to tie the score at 7-7.
After Thomas’ record-breaking score, Will Scott added a 20-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 17-7 advantage heading into halftime.
Troy’s offense came out swinging in the second half. Running back Brandon Burks ripped off 13 yards on the second play of the drive. Two plays later, Robinson hit Thomas for 38 yards down to the South Alabama 5 yard line. A false start penalty set the Trojans back five yards but Robinson connected with
Holmes for the 10-yard score to put Troy up 24-7 with 12:23 left in the third quarter.
Before the celebration had ended on the Troy sideline, South Alabama was knocking on the door. Jaguars quarterback Brandon Bridge hooked up with Wes Saxton for a 38-yard gain to the Troy 29. Three plays later, Jay Jones found the end zone on a 10-yard run. Troy’s Chris Davis blocked the extra point attempt holding the score at 24-13.
The Trojans defense came up with a huge stop at the 13:29 mark of the fourth quarter. With South Alabama facing fourth-and-short from the Troy 5 yard line, Camren Hudson and Brandon Timmons held back the Jaguars attempt to thwart the scoring effort.
Troy’s offense failed to capitalize on the momentum shift and was forced to punt. It took South Alabama just two plays to go 56 yards, scoring on a pass from Bridge to Bryant Lavender. The Jaguars two-point conversion attempt failed as the Trojans preserved a 24-19 lead.
After Scott booted through his second field goal of the game with 5:22 left in the fourth quarter, South Alabama scored on Metheny’s 16-yard rush, but failed to tie the game after missing on a second two-point conversion attempt.
South Alabama outgained the Trojans 630-434 in total offense. The win snapped Troy’s three-game losing skid on Homecoming.
“It feels tremendous, especially in this fashion,” Robinson said. “We said when we went down with 48 seconds to go that we’ve been waiting on one of these chances. We know we can score fast and it felt great.”
Troy will continue Sun Belt Conference play next week as the team travels to Atlanta to face Georgia State. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on the Sun Belt Network.
*Courtesy Troy Media Relations Department