Trojans’ defense shuts out SFA

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 5, 2000

Sports Editor

Who would have expected it?

The Troy State Trojans defeated Stephen F. Austin 6-0 on Saturday, mainly because of a defense that harassed Lumberjacks’ quarterback Wes Pate all day long and refused to give up the big play.

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That, and because of two field goals by Trojans’ placekicker Lawrence Tynes.

"I don’t think anybody, including our coaches and our players, would have expected a defensive game like it was," Troy State head coach Larry Blakeney said. "But that is exactly what it became, an old-fashioned, line-em-up, hit-em-the-mouth defensive struggle. I am just proud of our guys’ effort. It wasn’t easy or pretty out there all the time, but it was enough to get a win."

Tynes’ first field goal came with 13:35 left in the first half. The Trojans used a nine-play, 64 yard drive to set up the field goal.

In the second half, Tynes booted a 46 yard field goal with 3:11 left in the game to provide the Trojans with their margin of victory.

The win on Saturday was the first time TSU had won in Homer Bryce Stadium and marked the first time Stephen F. Austin had been shutout since 1991.

"We came in extremely focused today," Troy State cornerback David Philyaw said. "We didn’t really expect to get a shutout, but we’ll take it. We knew we had to step it up, and we did."

After starting free safety Travis Bozeman went down with career-ending injury last week – one of three TSU defensive backs to go down with

injuries this year – the Trojans’ coaching staff were wondering how their secondary would respond against one of the best offenses in the Southland Football League.

Consider the job done.

Philyaw and the Trojans’ defense had reason to be pleased with their game against the Lumberjacks. SFA totaled 296 yards on the day, but failed to get the numbers where they count; on the scoreboard.

Philyaw, who has primarily made a name for himself on the Trojans’ special teams this season, came up with an interception after Tynes’ last field goal to stop one SFA drive.

TSU was forced to punt and with a little over a minute to play Trojans’ linebacker Jimmy McClain picked off a Pate pass and returned it 75 yards to the SFA 2-yard line.

With two seconds left on the clock, quarterback Brock Nutter hit a knee and ended the game.

"The offense struggled out there a little bit today, so we had to pick them up," senior strong safety Antonio Thompson said. "We knew it was on our shoulders late, so we did what we had to do. We just wanted to get a win here so badly, in a place we had never done that before."

Troy State held the ball for 35 minutes, but could manage just 286 yards of total offense. Demontray Carter led the Trojans’ rushing game with 94 yards on 25 carries.