Troy faces short turnaround for big Sun Belt gamePublished 10:25pm Monday, October 28, 2013
By Danielle Percival
The nation’s leading rusher was one yard short on the play that mattered most thanks to a timely stop by the Troy Trojan defense on fourth-and-one with less than two minutes to go to seal a 32-26 victory for Troy Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky.
Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews was handed the ball on the Hilltoppers’ final play of the game but it was the Trojan defense and safety Camren Hudson who won the battle at the line, stopping Andrews for no gain and preserving a Trojan victory.
“We already knew they were going to give the ball to number 5 [Andrews],” Hudson said. “It looked like he got it, but then again everybody was saying ‘nah, he didn’t get it’ and that’s when I got amped up.”
“When they stopped them on that fourth down, it was a sigh of relief,” quarterback Corey Robinson said.
Early in the fourth quarter, running back Jordan Chunn rushed for his second touchdown of the game on what would be the game-winning score.
Chunn is leading all freshmen running backs in the country with nine rushing touchdowns this season.
The Trojans would then complete a 2-point conversion on a pass from wide-receiver Eric Thomas to fellow receiver B.J. Chitty.
“We worked on that all week at practice,” Thomas said. “[Chitty] told me to find him and give it a nice soft touch and he was going to make the play.”
It wasn’t the prettiest pass Chitty’s ever seen, but it got the job done.
“He got it there so I’ll give him a 10,” Chitty said. “[As a former quarterback] it was a 3 or a 4.”
That was the first completion of Thomas’ career but Saturday was also the first game this season that he has been held without a touchdown and that snapped his 8-game streak carrying over from last season.
After giving up 20 points in the first half, the defense held the Hilltoppers to only six points in the final thirty minutes.
The effort of the defense paid off Saturday as they forced two Western Kentucky turnovers, both of which were recovered by Trojans and both ensuing drives went for touchdowns.
Though the defense had forced 16 fumbles this year, only one had made its way into Trojan hands.
“You can see the excitement when it happens on the sidelines,” offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield said. “We were able to take advantage of both of them.”
The Hilltoppers would finish with 532 yards of offense with Andrews accounting for 292 all-purpose yards.
The Trojan offense only amassed 397 yards making this the first game since a September 2012 victory at North Texas where the Trojans have been able to record a win despite being held under 400 yards of total offense.
Western Kentucky might have out-gained Troy, but the Trojans outscored the Hilltoppers 22-6 in the second half.
To start the third quarter, quarterback Corey Robinson took sole possession of the Sun Belt Conference career touchdown passes record on a 40-yard bullet to wide receiver Chris Williams.
Robinson has now tossed 77 touchdowns in a Troy jersey, going 20-of-32 passing for 306 yards with the touchdown on Saturday.
This is the first victory Robinson has had in his home state since moving to the college ranks.
“It felt awesome for many more reasons than personal,” Robinson said. “It felt really good just to get another win in our conference and get one closer to the bowl game.”
Troy now sits at 5-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play which leaves them second only to Louisiana-Lafayette, who is still undefeated in the league.
The Trojans have a short week as they prepare for Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday night.
“We’ve got to go out there and take care of business,” Robinson said. “If we can get that one, spirits are going to be high.”
Kickoff on Halloween will be at 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy