TROY, Ala. – Troy jumped out to a big first quarter lead and used a precision passing attack to defeat Navy 41-31 on Saturday in front of the fifth-largest crowd in Veterans Memorial Stadium history (24,321).
Navy became the first Service Academy to play a game in Veterans Memorial Stadium and the contest took place on the 237th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
The Trojans (5-5), who moved to within one game of bowl eligibility, staked a 21-0 lead after the first 17 minutes of the game before the Midshipmen’s (6-4) triple option offense began to move the football.
Both of Troy’s quarterbacks got into the mix early on as Deon Anthony threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Worthy for the first points of the game and B.J. Chitty hauled in a 62-yard pass from Corey Robinson for Troy’s third touchdown of the afternoon.
Shawn Southward split the passing touchdowns with a 6-yard run on the Trojans’ second possession of the game. His 33rd career rushing touchdown, just one shy of the Troy record, capped a 16-play, 87-yard drive by the Trojans; the second longest drive of the season.
Robinson completed 25-of-28 attempts for 322 yards and the one touchdown, while Anthony was 9-of-12 through the air for 93 yards and the score. Anthony continued to punish teams with his legs as he rushed for 56 yards and two scores. In the last four games, Anthony has thrown for six touchdowns and rushed for five more.
D.J. Taylor rushed for a career-best 68 yards on 11 carries and Southward added 52 yards on 12 rushes. Chip Reeves had a game-high eight catches for 88 yards, Worthy had six grabs for 64 yards and Jaquon Robinsonadded 58 yards on four catches.
The Trojans shredded the Midshipmen defense for 597 yards oneweek after torching Tennessee to the tune of 721 yards. Troy rushed for 193yards while Robinson and Anthony combined for 415 yards through the air.
Navy freshman quarterback Kennan Reynolds took the team on his back in the second quarter after a costly fumble on the Troy 2-yard line. Reynolds broke through the Troy defense for a 70-yard run, but defensive tackle Aaron Williams stripped the ball and it rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Three plays later, Robinson and Chitty struck for the third-longest touchdown of the season by the Trojans.
Reynolds responded with a 5-yard touchdown run to cap an 8-play drive on the ensuing Midshipmen possession. Following a Troy interception deep in Navy territory, Reynolds threw a 68-yard pass to ShawnLynch and then scored with his legs from five yards out to cut the Troy lead to 21-14.
Reynolds finished with 130 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, while Gee Gee Greene added 155 yards and a score on 16 carries. Reynolds was 8-of-15 for 159 yards through the air.
The triple-option attack netted 328 rushing yards and the Midshipmen finished the game with 487 yards of total offense.
On the ensuing Troy possession, the Trojans worked the sideline on the first three plays before a 17-yard Robinson to Robinson pass across the middle. Anthony punctuated the drive with a 44-yard run up the gut on the next play to give Troy a 28-14 lead.
The Trojans tried to catch the Midshipmen off guard with an onsides kick, but Reeves caught the ball 1-yard shot of the minimum 10-yards to give Navy the ball on the Troy 39-yard line. Reynolds scored eight plays later to send the teams into the locker room with Troy leading 28-21.
Will Scott booted a 25-yard field goal on Troy’s secondpossession of the third quarter to stretch the Trojan lead out to 10, 31-21, but Greene broke through the Troy defense on the second play of the ensuingpossession for a 59-yard touchdown.
Following a Troy turnover, Kyle Lucas came up with the defensive play of the game for the Trojans as he sacked Reynolds and knocked the ball loose at the Navy 47-yard line. Derrek Upshaw recovered the fumble and Anthony made Navy pay for the mistake with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Nick Sloan pulled Navy back within one possession, 38-31, with 7:29 to play in the game with a 27-yard field goal.
However, the Trojans milked over four minutes off the clock and got a 23-yard field goal from Scott with 3:09 remaining to ice the game.
The Trojans will play to become bowl eligible, next Saturday,when they host Arkansas State in Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff between the Trojans and Red Wolves is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by the Troy IMG Sports Network.
TROY – Worthy 34-yard pass from Anthony (Scott kick), 11:37, 1st 7-0
TROY – Southward 6-yard run (Scott kick), 0:29, 1st 14-0
TROY – Chitty 62-yard pass from Robinson (Scott kick), 13:57, 2nd 21-0
NAVY – Reynolds 5-yard run (Sloan kick), 10:38, 2nd 21-7
NAVY – Reynolds 5-yard run (Sloan kick), 6:15, 2nd 21-14
TROY – Anthony 44-yard run (Scott kick), 0:24, 2nd 28-14
NAVY – Reynolds 1-yard run (Sloan kick), 0:24, 2nd 28-21
TROY – Scott 25-yard FG, 7:09, 3rd 31-21
NAVY – Greene 59-yard run (Sloan kick), 6:15, 3rd 31-28
TROY – Anthony 4-yard run (Scott kick), 12:35, 4th 38-28
NAVY – Sloan 27-yard FG, 7:29, 4th 38-31
TROY – Scott 23-yard FG, 3:09, 4th 41-31
Troy Postgame Notes
Captains for Troy were RB Shawn Southward, DB Dryan Willis, LB Kanorris Davis and OL Andrew Phillips.
Navy won the toss and elected to receive.
Attendance on the day was 24,321, the fifth largest crowd ever at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Chandler Worthy’s 34-yard touchdown reception was the ninth longest scoring play of the season for Troy.
The Trojans 16-play scoring drive in the first quarter was the second longest drive of the season.
B.J. Chitty’s 62-yard touchdown catch was the longest reception and touchdown of his career. It was the third longest touchdown of the season for Troy.
Deon Anthony’s 44-yard touchdown rush was the longest rushing touchdown of the season for Troy and was a career best. The rush was the second longest rush of the season for Troy.
First time Troy had three 30+ yard touchdowns in a game this season. Troy last had three 30+ yard touchdowns in a game on December 4, 2010, against FAU (all three were passes from Corey Robinson).
Troy also had exactly 358 first half yards against Tennessee last week.
Chip Reeve’s 38-yard reception in the third quarter was his 11th 30+ yard reception of the season.
J.J. Harbin recorded his first career catch in the fourth quarter, a 24-yard reception.
Deon Anthony had two rushing touchdowns in a game for the second time this season. He also rushed for two touchdowns against FIU.
TROJANS IN THE RECORD BOOKS
o Moved into sole possession of second place in career touchdowns scored, with 35.
o Moved into a tie for seventh all-time in points scored, with 204.
o Moved into a tie for eighth for single-season rushing touchdowns, with 10.
o Moved into ninth for single-season passing attempts, with 318.
o Moved into seventh for single-season completions, with 209.
o Moved into eighth for single-season passing yards, with 2,521.
o Moved into ninth all-time in receptions, with 111.
o Moved into seventh all-time in receiving yards, with 1,810.
o Moved into 10th for single-season receiving yards, with 892.
The Trojans stopped Navy on the opening drive, something they hadn’t done since defeating South Alabama, 31-10. Troy began the season by stopping its opponents on the opening drive in the first five games.
Troy shutout its opponent in the first quarter for the first time since shutting out UAB in the first quarter on September 1, 2012.
Xavier Melton recorded his first career sack in the fourth quarter.
Justin Albert’s 35-yard punt return in the firstquarter was his second longest of the season, behind a 54-yard return against Western Kentucky.
Will Scott made two field goals on the day, the third straight game he has done so. Scott has made two field goals in four games this season.
Will Scott moved into 10th for single-season field goals made, with 13.
Troy Head Coach Larry Blakeney
“It’s great to be able to come in here after a win. It’s a game I thought we could win, I wasn’t sure though. The offense they, used as you saw, is pretty prolific and they always have big-play capability off the options, fakes and option runs. I thought our defense really put its best foot forward and got a lot done. Our offense, I thought we could score a lot of points and we wound up scoring enough. If we would have gotten into much more of a shootout it could have gone into their favor. I told them today, and yesterday we can beat anybody left on our schedule and go to a bowl. If we get six we can go somewhere. If we get seven it will be a little bit better. We’re sitting in a situation where we got Arkansas State who is a very good team, with one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Ryan Aplin, and of course (Gus) Malzahn is a great offensive mind. We’ve sort of got the table set. Running back [David] Oku, is a pretty darn big time guy, Aplin is definitely a big time guy and I know they’ve got lots to go with them. We’ve got to get prepared and I look forward to it after we get done celebrating this one.”
On play of the quarterbacks against Navy
“I hated we had the one turnover on the interception. We had the one turnover when we were trying to score and I know Shawn was trying to leap and the ball came. It made it exciting. I think the officials did a great job handling the game. Their demeanor, before, during and after the game. I think I would have said that if we would have won or lost. The game was hard fought and our quarterbacks were spot on. Both of have them their little packages they feel comfortable with.”
On how Troy prepared for the Midshipmen’s option offense
“K.D. Edenfield didn’t practice on offense all week. I thought it was very unselfish thing to do to come out there and play as a wishbone quarterback and try to demonstrate the offense. We had some slotreceivers come out there and demonstrate all the motion and did a good job. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave us some good looks.”
On how this offense ranks among past Troy offenses
“They are about as good as we have had, even when Levi was here. I thought he was pretty darn good. I like having the capability of putting another quarterback out there that is a Wildcat guy but can throw it. You basically have to have two plans for the quarterback position because they know Deon can pull it down and run or throw. My gunslinger, he is reading it out and trying to find. I thought our inside receivers played really great tonight, maybe not as much production out of the outside guys, even though Chip [Reeves] got a big play. I looked up one time and we threw a pass to J.J. Hardin, any of you know J.J.Hardin? He made a catch and the pressure was on, I thought it was a heck of a deal.”
On winning the time of possession
“That’s a good thing .It comes with playing fast and making 3rd downs. I think we got them tired early. By lining up and keeping the tempo of the game going and converting third downs and boom, touchdown. When we were playing really good and it was like that when we played last week. The biggest thing you can’t do is not turn it over. Even if you have to punt a few times, if you won’t turn it over and won’t get those silly penalties and you can help when a bunch of games on that offensive group.”
On Navy being disciplined
“They were very disciplined, not many mistakes as you can see with turnovers. They made us play our game and they made us beat them.”
On throwing a lot
“They play a lot of zone so we knew we’d have to hit our spots and run good routes. They never tried to confuse us, they tried to bend but not break. We did a good job bringing the defense up and hit a couple shots early and a couple late.”
On the offense clicking as of late
“We knew they were going to be a disciplined team staying in their zone. It was a different kind of game for us; instead of going against man we had to find spaces and that’s what we worked on all week.”
On remaining two games
“The next two games mean a lot. We need to win them so we can get a spot and go to a bowl that we want to go to and not just get thrown in one.”
Do you think six wins gets this team in a bowl game?
“Six will get us in one but seven is our pick.”
On great play from the defensive line
“We played pretty well. I think mainly that’s attributed to how the scout team played all week. They were really out there putting it on us. They were giving us all they had coming off the ball full speed. As a defense we went out and worked all week, brought a lunch pale and just really showed up to work tonight.”
On importance of next two games
“One more and we get bowl eligible and two more and it enhances our eligibility of getting a better game and going to a better place. We’ve got to come out with the same intensity this next week on offense and defense. We’ll take these next two one game at a time and focus on Arkansas State this week.”
On passing efficiency
“Well like Blakeney was saying earlier, this is a mix that’s so great we’ve bought into. It’s hard to defend; you don’t know what’s coming. I felt good, the receivers played an awesome game but the guys who played the best out there were our offensive line. I can’t give those guys enough credit the way they gave us so much time back there. I looked back there one time and there was no one coming. Those guys made plays and we got the win and that’s all I care about.”
On offense hitting strides down the stretch
“Me and Deon were talking the other day about taking the Tennessee game and building on it. If we put more pressure on the other team’s offense early in the game that’ll help lead to more wins.”
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo
You got to give props to Troy [head] coach [Larry] Blakeney. They came out got on us early we never seemed to recover, but you got to give them credit you know what I mean we battledthere for a little bit, but we had too many mistakes ill take the hit for this and try to get ready. Obviously, they were more prepared than we were and they got off to a better start than we did. We got to make sure we take care of the ball, finish drives. I’m not sure what they were on third down. I know they converted a ton of third downs. We got to give them credit. I’m not taking anything away from Troy; they played better than we did. You can say whatever you want we didn’t get it done. You got to give them credit; they came out and made more plays than we did in the second half. We were in a hole there in the beginning and we were trailing ever since and that’s not us. We like to be ahead when we can dictate what’s going on. When we’re coming from behind that’s not our game. The kid [Keenan Reynolds] has made a ton of plays for us. He had some fumbles today. We got to go back and look at it and try to get better, you’ve just got to play better you can’t put that game on Keenan. They are going up and down the field we’ve got to get better on defense. Yes, he has to take better care of the ball. We got to finish drives as a team. It’s a team loss; they played better than we did, coached better than we did. Its not one person; we lost this as a team. We won a couple games as a team and lost a couple as a team. They had 700 yards against Tennessee. That’s an SEC defense and what they do is not a fluke. They have scored a lot of points against a lot of people. We knew coming into the game that this would be a tough game. We didn’t play our best, but you have to give them credit they played better than we did.
“He is one of our leaders, you know we started off pretty slow as a team. Brian has been one of our senior leaders and because of him he allowed us to get back a team last week.”
“The people here are wonderful, besides the game we really enjoyed ourselves. The people are really nice along with the people at the hotel the people here in Troy. We don’t have any complaints; I just wish we played better as a team.”
“Got to bounce back next week. We don’t have a choice.”
We cant look ahead we have to get ready for Texas State next week we don’t play army until next month we need to find a way to get ready for Texas State next week.
Navy Linebacker Brye French
“We knew that going into the game they were going to be a god offense they have a lot of firepower at receivers and running backs we came out flat they knew what they had to do they executed obviously they put up 14 or 21 points like that it was tough they had a good game plan and it was tough tostop them.”
We couldn’t keep them one-dimensional. We couldn’t stop the run, so they could pass it. They just made good play calls, they threw it deep or they could just drop it off. Like I said they had a good game plan and they were ready for us.
“Anytime you lose, it’s not fun especially in front of family and friends, but hey you got to move forward. That’s the biggest thing we got to do as a team, just get ready for Texas State like Coach Niumatalolo said.”
“I got to see my family last night, I played here in high school so it was pretty neat you know to be back in the locker room. It was cool to be back in the locker room and everything. I’m sure I’ll see some friends and family after the game. It’s kind of bitter sweet. I did play at this stadium and it was just a regular season game. I had to line up over 20 tickets and a bunch of other people got tickets through Troy.”
“Yeah his philosophy has been bend, but don’t break. We couldn’t do that today there were a couple of drives that we held them a little bit, but they hit the deep balls. I think three or four of those we couldn’t keep them one-dimensional and they could do what they wanted. It wasn’t a good game by the defense on our part.”
Navy Quarterback Keenan Reynolds
“Its unacceptable to turn the ball over that far into the red zone and theygot seven points going the other way. That’s 14 points they scored and that was my fault so we got to come back next week; we have to focus on ball security. We can’t have that that’s the kind of stuff that makes you lose games. On the long run I knew he was coming and I knew I had to secure the ball and I didn’t do a very good job of doing that.”
“We finally started to settle down and do what we know how to do stop shooting ourselves in the foot and started executing. Turnovers will kill any momentum that we got.”
“Regardless of how many points that they put up, you got to have that chip on your shoulder. You don’t want to put yourself in any bad predicaments and we didn’t do a good job of that today. We need to do a better job on the offensive side of the football.”