DURHAM, N.C. – Troy fell just short of knocking off Duke falling 38-31 on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Corey Robinson threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns on 35 of 45 passing. Troy (2-3, 0-1 Sun Belt) had one final shot to tie the game as the offense took the field at its own 22 with 31 seconds remaining. Robinson completed a pass to Chris Williams for 17 yards but his final heave towards the end zone was intercepted as time expired.
“I thought we did some good things offensively and made some plays defensively to give us a shot to score,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “They [Duke] are a machine offensively and did a good job of moving the football.”
Troy opened the scoring on its second drive with a 5-yard run by Jordan Chunn with 6:46 remaining in the opening quarter. The touchdown was set up by a pair of Robinson passes, one to Bryan Holmes for 14 yards and the other a 24-yard completion to Eric Thomas.
After Duke (3-2, 0-2 ACC) scored three times to take a 21-7 lead, Thomas hauled in a 12-yard pass from Robinson in the back left corner of the end zone to pull the Trojans to within seven, 21-14. With his 24th score, Thomas tied the Sun Belt Conference career record for touchdown receptions.
The Blue Devils, behind junior quarterback Brandon Connette, would again answer this time on a 9-yard pass to Jela Duncan. Connette would throw for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
Duke and Troy battled tooth and nail offensively with the Blue Devils outgaining the Trojans 514-512.
Holmes led the Trojans in receiving with 82 yards on seven receptions. Thomas finished with 77 yards on nine catches.
Chunn scored his second touchdown of the game with 2:52 lef tin the first half to bring the Trojans to within a touchdown, 28-21.
Just 2:45 into the second half, Wilson Van Hooser hauled in a Robinson pass and raced 40 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 28-28. It was Van Hooser’s first career touchdown catch as a Trojan.
It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to score however as quarterback Brandon Connette converted three 3rd-down passing plays. Connette finished off the 10-play drive with a 4-yard rushing score to help Duke retake the lead.
“We’ve got a big game coming up with South Alabama, it’s homecoming and it’s a conference game. We have got to come ready to play, do the things we are supposed to do and put ourselves in position to win,” Blakeney said. “If we have anything going, we have togetherness. This group is all about playing for one another and playing for the team. They’ll bounce back.”
The Trojans return to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, October 5, to celebrate homecoming against South Alabama. Kickoff for the game is set for noon.