MOBILE, Ala. – The Troy defense forced four turnovers and held South Alabama to just 252 yards of offense as the Trojans ran past the Jaguars 31-10 Saturday afternoon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Troy (3-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) held South Alabama (1-4, 0-1) to just 51 yards of total offense in the second half as the Trojans moved to 3-0 on the road. Troy is one of just five teams in the country sitting at 3-0 away from home this season.
The reigning Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week Brynden Trawick led the defensive effort with nine tackles, an interception in the end zone and a pass break up. Kanorris Davis had a team-high 11 tackles, while Camren Hudson forced a fumble and recovered a different Jaguar fumble.
Combined with the seven points Troy allowed at North Texas last week, it is the fewest points allowed in back-to-back games by the Trojans since they held Western Kentucky and Arkansas State to a combined 12 points in 2008.
South Alabama’s quarterbacks were a combined 8-for-20 for just 59 yards through the air. It was the fewest passing yards allowed by the Trojans since holding Alcorn State to 48 in 2008. Troy has held the opposing quarterbacks to a combined 31-for-75 in the last three games.
Troy built a 24-7 lead in the second quarter and used a solid ground game in the second half to pick up the victory. Troy picked up 214 yards on the ground on a season-high 51 attempts.
Shawn Southward rushed 17 times for 86 yards to lead the Trojans. Backup quarterback Deon Anthony had seven carries for 37 yards, while D.J. Taylor rushed nine times for 35 yards and Troy’s final touchdown of the game. Justin Albert added 30 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Corey Robinson completed 15-of-24 passes for 223 yards but threw three interceptions, while Anthony was 3-of-3 for 58 yards and his first career passing touchdown. Chandler Worthy had five catches for 48 yards and his first touchdown of the season to go along with 30 rushing yards.
Eric Thomas and Chip Reeves both narrowly missed touchdowns as they had catches down to the 1-yard line and 2-yard line, respectively. Thomas finished with three catches for 78 yards and Reeves added three catches for 67 yards.
Troy built a 10-point lead on the strength of a 21-yard field goal by Will Scott and a 1-yard touchdown run by Albert on the Trojans’ third and fourth possessions of the game.
Hudson gave the Trojans outstanding field position to set up Scott’s field goal as he recovered a T.J. Glover fumble on a punt return on the USA 25-yard line. Worthy carried the ball down to the Jaguar 5-yard line with a career-best 24-yard rush, but the Trojan drive stalled forcing the Scott field goal.
Following a South Alabama punt, Troy took over own its own 48-yard line. A 16-yard catch by Worthy and a 38-yard reception by Thomas gave the Trojans the ball on the Jaguar 1-yard line. One play later Albert found the end zone for his second touchdown of the season.
Trey Fetner, who was one of three Jaguar quarterbacks to play in the game, put South Alabama on the board with a 3-yard quarterback sneak after a 50-yard run by another USA quarterback C.J. Bennett moved to the ball to the Troy 5-yard line. It was the first points allowed by the Troy defense in over 64 minutes of game time and snapped a streak of 14 consecutive drives without allowing a point.
The Trojans answered on their ensuing possession with an 8-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by Anthony’s first career touchdown pass. After Robinson methodically moved the Trojans down the field, Anthony came in on third-and-7 and found Worthy at the goal line for the score with 11:46 to play in the opening half.
Turnovers and penalties plagued the middle of the second quarter as the teams traded interceptions. There were a combined six turnovers and 18 penalties for 163 yards in the opening 30 minutes of action. South Alabama finished the game with 15 penalties for 142 yards.
Robinson finally broke through the mire of the second quarter with his arm and his legs on Troy’s final drive of the half. He opened the drive with a 19-yard pass to Reeves and closed it out with a 2-yard touchdown run – his second-career rushing touchdown.
The Jaguars were granted a second life right before the half as Derrek Upshaw blocked a 41-yard Michel Chapuseaux field goal attempt on first-and-10 with four seconds to play in the half. South Alabama recovered the block and continued possession of the ball after it was ruled that the ball didn’t cross the line of scrimmage. Following a delay of game penalty, Chapuseaux slipped a 53-yard kick just over the crossbar to close the Troy lead down to 24-10 at the half.
The only points of the second half came on Taylor’s 1-yard run with just over eight minutes to play in the game. Anthony opened the drive with a 44-yard completion to a wide-open Chris Williams.
The Trojans will enjoy a bye week next weekend before hosting Western Kentucky in a nationally televised game on ESPNU on Thursday, Oct. 11, in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
TROY – Scott 21-yard FG, 10:03, 1st 0-3
TROY – Albert 1-yard run (Scott kick), 8:05, 1st 0-10
USA – Fetner 3-yard run (Chapuseaux kick), 0:46, 1st 7-10
TROY – Worthy 7-yard pass from Anthony (Scott kick), 11:46, 2nd 7-17
TROY – Robinson 2-yard run (Scott kick), 2:13, 2nd 7-24
USA – Chapuseaux 53-yard FG, 0:00, 2nd 10-24
TROY – Taylor 1-yard run, 8:11, 4th 10-31