Trojans clinch fourth-straight title

Published 10:25 pm Saturday, November 21, 2009

The mission the Troy Trojans set out on at the beginning of the season has now been accomplished.

Now, the Trojans can set its sights on accomplishing its second goal – a post-season win.

With its 47-21 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday night in Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium, the Trojans were able to celebrate senior night by clinching its fourth straight Sun Belt championship.

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As he walked into the press conference, head coach Larry Blakeney held up the newest collection to his wardrobe – the 2009 Sun Belt conference shirt.

“Glad we are able to celebrate a great win and another championship,” Blakeney said at the press conference following the game.

“There are some great seniors that were honored here tonight. They have done so much for the university and each other along the way.”

The win improves Troy to 8-3 overall and 7-0 in the conference.

The Trojans would set the tone early against the Owls on both sides of the ball.

On Troy’s first offense possession, the team marched down the field, capping off an 11-play, 90 yard drive with a Shawn Southward one-yard touchdown.

That would begin an onslaught of Trojan points.

The Trojans would score on five of its next six possessions.

Leading the way for the Troy was senior quarterback Levi Brown and junior wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan.

In the first half alone, Brown passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns, a 19-yard pass to Patrick Cherry and a 59-yard pass to Cornelius Williams.

Jernigan rushed out of the “Wild Cat” formation for 35 yards and also had three receptions for 89 yards in the half.

The defense held their own, sacking FAU quarterback Jeff VanCamp four times and only gave up seven first downs and seven points.

Thanks to a rushing touchdown by Maurice Greer and two field goals at by Michael Taylor and Sam Glusman, the Trojans led 33-7 at the half and never looked back.

“Just about everything was working for us early on in the game,” Blakeney said.

“Levi was on target and Jerrel and company made a lot of great catches and plays.

“A lot of guys put forth a lot of effort tonight and it paid off for us,” the coach said.

The second half was very reminiscent of the first, as the Trojans continued to impose its will on the Owls.

Troy opened up the third quarter with a seven-play drive that spanned 80 yards and finished a Jernigan two-yard touchdown, expanding the Trojan lead to 33 points at 40-7.

The Owls would answer back with two quick touchdowns to cut the Trojan lead to 40-21, however, Brown would find junior wide receiver Tebiarus Gill for a five-yard touchdown pass to early in the fourth quarter that would put FAU away for good.

“It’s a great feeling [to win another championship],” Brown said after the game.

“There was a lot of talk about the loss [to FAU in 2007] that cost us the outright championship and a bowl game.

“We were definitely aware of it and to get this win like this means a lot,” the quarterback added.

The senior had a night to remember as well.

Brown’s 477 yards in the game set a new Trojan record and in the process set a single season record for most passing yards with 3,575 yards.

“It’s cool to have,” Brown said. “But they don’t really mean too much to me.”

Brown’s number one target tonight was Jernigan, who finished with six catches for 147 yards and added 51 yards on the ground.

“We are working on all cylinders right now on offense,” the junior wide receiver said.

“It’s a pretty great feeling to win another championship – I’m going to be looking forward to playing bowl game, where ever it is.”

Troy is the first team since North Texas to win at least a share of the Sun Belt four straight seasons-in-a-row.

“I think we played a pretty three-phase game tonight,” Blakeney said.

“We grabbed the momentum and kept it. I am really proud of these kids and our coaches.”