*From Troy Media Relations*
KNOXVILLE – Troy torched the Tennessee defense for 721 yards, but the Vols scored a pair of touchdowns over the final three minutes of the game to rally from a late deficit and win a 55-48 shootout over the Trojans Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Troy took a 48-41 lead with 3:14 to play in the game on a highlight-reel, one-handed catch by Eric Thomas that covered 67 yards from Corey Robinson. The duo hooked up again on the two-point conversion to make it a seven-point game.
The 721 yards is the most allowed by a Tennessee team in school history and the second most ever by Troy. In two games against SEC competition this season, the Trojans have accumulated 1,293 yards of total offense or 646.5 per game; Troy had 572 yards against Mississippi State.
Troy’s total against Tennessee is the most yards allowed by an SEC defense this season and the Trojans have two of the top five totals this year. The 48 points scored by the Trojans are the most in school history against an SEC team (previous high was 34 at Georgia in 2007).
On the drive following the Thomas touchdown, Tennessee was the beneficiary of a pass interference call on the first play and Tyler Bray hit Justin Hunter on the next play for a 46-yard score to tie the game with2:54 to play.
Following a Troy three-and-out, the Vols took over on their own 34-yard line with 2:11 to play in the game. Bray connected with Hunter on third-and-10 to keep the drive alive and on the next play Marlin Lane ran in for the score from nine yards out.
Troy was able to move to the Tennessee 43-yard line on its final possession of the game, but Robinson’s Hail Mary pass as time expired fell incomplete.
Robinson finished the game 30-of-46 for 393 yards and a touchdown through the air while Deon Anthony completed 8-of-12 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Shawn Southward rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns to move into second place on the Troy career rushing touchdown list with 32; just two shy of the record.
Thomas totaled 147 yards on six catches and a pair of scores while Chip Reeves had five catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Reeves became the first player in Troy history to top the 100-yard receiving plateau in four games during one season.
Tennessee (4-5) jumped out to a 28-10 lead after the first quarter of play thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by Bray and a Lane 17-yard run. Troy kicker Will Scott put the first points of the game on the board with an early 37-yard field goal and Southward gave the Trojans a 10-7 lead with his first touchdown.
Bray completed 29-of-47 passes for 530 yards and five touchdowns. Cordarrelle Patterson hauled in nine of Bray’s passes for 219 yards and one touchdown, while Hunter finished with 181 yards and three scores onnine receptions. Lane rushed 19 times for 132 yards.
The Trojans (4-5) stormed back with touchdowns on their next four possessions – the first time they had done that since 2008 against Alcorn State. Southward rushed in from 1-yard out, Reeves caught a 51-yard pass from Anthony and Anthony trucked a Tennessee defender to complete a 28-yard touchdown run that gave the Trojans a 30-28 lead with 1:12 to play in the opening half.
Michael Palardy booted a 21-yard field goal as time expired to give the Vols a 31-30 lead at the half and then hit a 31-yard attempt on the first drive of the second half to stretch the lead to 34-30.
Troy regained the lead, 37-34, as Anthony capped a 9-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Thomas with 7:31 to play in the thirdquarter.
The only turnover of the game occurred on the next drive when Eli Canton ripped the ball loose from wildcat quarterback Alton Howard and Bryan Willis recovered on the Troy 4-yard line. The Trojans moved down to the Tennessee 24-yard line before the drive stalled and Scott booted a 42-yard field goal to give Troy a 40-34 lead late in the third quarter.
Bray put Tennessee back in front, 41-40, with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Rajion Neal on the ensuing possession.
The Trojans wrap up non-conference play next Saturday when they play host to Navy in Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff between the Trojans and Midshipmen is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by ESPN3.
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