Brown has career night in Troy win
DENTON, Texas – Apparently, Levi Brown likes his new role as the Troy Trojans’ starting quarterback.
The junior from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., came out Saturday night like a Texas gunslinger against the Mean Green of North Texas, completing 35-of-42 passes, for 334 yards, all in the first half. He finished with 391 yards passing, completing a school-record 40 passes, leading the Trojans to a 44-17 victory.
The Trojans piled up 547 yards on 79 offensive plays. Troy had 439 yards through the air and 108 on the ground. In the win, Brown became the top passing performer under current coach Larry Blakeney surpassing Brock Nutter’s 390-yard performance from 1999.
The Trojans improved to 5-2 on the year, 4-0 in Sun Belt Conference play while dropping the winless Mean Green to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in league play in front of a homecoming crowd of 18,345 at Fouts Field.
Troy got its offense going quickly, driving the opening possession of the game 82 yards in just eight plays, ending in freshman Dantavious Parker’s second touchdown run of the year, this one from one-yard out.
For the second straight week, Sam Glusman missed on the opening PAT of the game, leaving the Trojans with a 6-0 lead with 12:03 left in the first quarter.
After forcing the Mean Green off the field in three plays, the Trojans took over again at their own 12. Troy took its time driving the field, covering 78 yards in 15 plays before stalling and settling for a 28 yard Glusman field goal for a 9-0 lead with 6:21 left in the quarter.
After North Texas had a big gain into Troy territory, the Trojans turned the Mean Green away when redshirt freshman Donnell Golden, starting in place of Bear Woods, recorded his first career interception.
The Trojans again wasted no time in driving to the end zone. Sophomore DuJuan Harris capped a nine-play drive with a one-yard TD run at the 1:47 mark of the first quarter. Glusman’s PAT attempt was blocked, leaving Troy with a 15-0 lead with 1:47 left in the quarter.
Another Mean Green turnover, this one a fumble by quarterback Giovanni Vizza forced by Brandon Lang, was recovered by Troy’s Cameron Sheffield at the UNT 26. The Trojans failed to take advantage, however, and Glusman missed on a 48-yard field goal attempt. It was his first missed field goal of the year, snapping a streak of 11 straight made kicks.
After forcing another three-and-out by North Texas, the Trojans needed just 2:21 to drive 65 yards for their third TD of the night. Brown hit Jernigan on a six-yard pass at the 11:49 mark of the second quarter and Glusman converted the PAT for a 22-0 Troy lead.
North Texas took advantage of a mistake on special teams to get on the board at the 8:05 mark of the second quarter. Troy had forced the Mean Green into a punting situation, but Lang slid into punter Truman Spencer and was flagged for roughing.
The Mean Green scored three plays later when Vizza finally hooked up with his favorite target, Casey Fitzgerald, for a 32-yard touchdown. Jeremy Knott’s PAT cut the Troy lead to 22-7.
The Trojans came right back on their next possession, driving 73 yards in 10 plays before settling for another Glusman field goal, this one from 24 yards out with 14 seconds left in the half for a 25-7 Troy lead.
The final Troy drive of the half was costly for the Trojans. Jernigan, who already had nine receptions for 123 yards in the game, limped off the field with a knee injury and did not return in the second half. The injury was thought to be only a sprain, but will be reevaluated on Sunday.
The Trojans opened the second half with a little razzle-dazzle, after forcing the Mean Green offense off the field in three plays. Tanner Jones opened the second half at quarterback and through a lateral pass to former quarterback Jonathan Chandler on the right side. Chandler turned and threw back to Jones, who went 48 yards to the one on his first career reception.
Harris went in for the touchdown two plays later and Glusman’s PAT improved Troy’s lead to 32-7 with 12:59 left in the third quarter.
North Texas drove deep into Troy territory on its next possession before Vizza was intercepted in the end zone by Jorrick Calvin. It was his first pick of the year.
After the two teams traded punts through most of the third quarter and into the fourth, the Mean Green got back on the board with 11:59 left in the game on a 46 yard field goal by Knott, cutting the Troy lead to 32-10.
The Trojans answered quickly, as Calvin took the ensuing kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a score since Leodis McKelvin went 100 yards against South Carolina in 2005 and the first kick return for a score of any kind for Troy that didn’t involve McKelvin since Demontray Carter took a kickoff back 94 yards against Southern Utah in 2001.
North Texas punched in a late score to close the game to 39-17 but a failed on-side kick attempt ultimately ended the night for the Mean Green.
The night however was not done for Brown. After Troy recovered the kick Brown found a streaking Mykeal Terry open in the middle of the field for a 29-yard strike for his second touchdown pass of the game. Glusman missed his third PAT of the game as the Trojans pushed their lead to 44-17.
Xavier Lamb picked off a Vizza pass to seal the game with three minutes left to put the game on ice.
The Trojans will be back on the road next week at Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff for the game against the Warhawks is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised regionally.