Hampton hits his spot

Published 10:54 pm Saturday, September 25, 2010

The last time Jamie Hampton threw a touchdown pass was on Sept. 27, 2008, against Oklahoma State.

That nearly two-year drought came to an end during the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Arkansas State.

With Troy’s Sun Belt opener tied at 7-7, and the Trojans knocking on the door in the red zone, Hampton answered the call, finding Tebiarus Gill in the back of the end zone to put his team up early.

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“I thought it was awesome,” Hampton said about the pass.

“It made it even more special throwing to TB. We always joked about me throwing touchdown passes to him and for a while there, we weren’t sure if that was going to happen again.

“We had a lot of fun celebrating back on the sidelines afterwards,” he added with a smile.

The road between touchdowns has been a long and winding one for the former Trojan starting signal-caller however.

After blowing his knee out in front of a national audience during a game against Florida Atlantic just five games into the 2008 season, Hampton didn’t see action again until the start of the current season, due to the knee-injury and a red-shirted year in 2009.

Despite previously holding the starter’s job and a tough competition throughout the summer leading up to the start of the current season, Hampton was named red-shirt freshman Corey Robinson’s back up. While some may have taken the demotion negatively, Hampton has taken a different approach.

“To be completely honest, I would do it all again,” he said.

“(The past two seasons) did so much for me personally and spiritually that I would gladly do it again.

“I told a lot of people early on in the summer that I didn’t care what happened (with the quarterback position), I just wanted what was best for the team.

“ It has been a lot of fun to watch Corey mature and succeed the way he has just like it was a lot of fun to watch Levi (Brown) succeed all of last season.”

As for Hampton’s new role, because of the Cedar Bluff native’s ability to hurt defenses with both his legs and his arm, Hampton enters games on mainly running plays, doing what he can to get the Trojans down the field.

For the season, the quarterback has thrown for 25 yards and a touchdown while he has run for another 58 yards on 14 attempts.

Even though he may see the field sparingly, it is a role that has important moments.

After Troy took the lead with under a minute to play, it was Hampton, not kicker Michael Taylor, who emerged from the Trojan huddle looking to complete a two-point conversion.

After being forced out of the pocket, the quarterback rolled to the left and found Jerrel Jernigan in the end zone, just like he had done two seasons ago.

The pass completion gave his team a seven-point lead and in the process with 24 seconds left.

“I love being able to help this team win,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter when I come in, or what I do, I just love having the opportunity to help my teammates out. I’ll get that extra yard for them every time.”