Troy falls 34-27 to Florida Atlantic

Published 9:28 pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

BOCA RATON, Fla. – William Dukes 22-yard touchdown reception with 17 seconds remaining lifted Florida Atlantic past Troy 34-27 Saturday night at FAU Stadium.

Shawn Southward gave Troy a 27-26 lead with 1:49 to play in the game on a 31-yard run up the middle, his second rushing touchdown of the game. However, on the ensuing possession Graham Wilbert moved the Owls down the field on nine plays capped by Dukes’ game-winning reception.

Wilbert was 6-for-7 through the air on the game-winning drive and also rushed twice for eight yards. He finished his night 26-of-40 for 261 yards and four touchdown passes. Nexon Dorvilus led the Owls with six catches for 78 yards and a pair of scores and Jonathan Wallace paced the ground game with 87 yards on 24 carries.

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Southward finished with 68 yards on 11 carries on the night to go along with his eighth career multi-touchdown game. Corey Robinson completed 15-of-32 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown for the Trojans, while Chip Reeves had five catches for 88 yards.

Florida Atlantic (2-6, 1-4 Sun Belt) broke a 17-17 halftime tie with a 47-yard Mitch Anderson field goal early in the third quarter and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Wilbert to Jenson Stoshak late in the third quarter; the Owls were unsuccessful on botched two-point conversion attempt and led 26-17.

Troy (4-4, 3-3), who lost for the first time in four road games this season, began its comeback with a 17-yard Will Scott field goal with 6:21 to play in the game on a drive that started on the Troy 4-yard line.

On the first play of the drive, Robinson threw a 51-yard strike to Reeves down the sideline. It was the fifth longest play of the season for the Trojans and Reeves’ third catch of over 50 yards this season. The Trojans had a first-and-goal from the FAU 4-yard line, but couldn’t find the end zone on three straight rushes to set up the chip shot from Scott.

The Trojan defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and a 32-yard punt gave Troy the ball on its own 44-yard line with just under five minutes to play.

Southward’s 31-yard touchdown scamper capped an eight-play drive that featured a fourth-down conversion near midfield.

The Owls charged out to a 14-0 lead with touchdown receptions by Dorvilus of nine and 11 yards on their first two possessions of the game. The Troy defense settled down and held Florida Atlantic on its next two possessions, but a Trojan turnover set up the Owls for more points.

Winfred Strickland intercepted a Robinson pass and returned it 32 yards to set up Florida Atlantic up great field position at the Troy 30-yard line. The Trojan defense held the Owls to just 12 yards on the drive to force a 35-yard field goal by Anderson.

Scott put the Trojans on the board and in the process erased the biggest field goal in school history from the record books. Scott, who kicked the game-winning field goal last week against FIU, connected from 52-yards away for Troy’s first points of the game.

Scott’s boot was the longest field goal in school history passing 50-yard makes by Ted Clem and Michael Taylor. Clem’s 50-yard field goal came in the 1984 Division II National Championship Game with no time remaining to give Troy an 18-17 victory over North Dakota State.

A three-and-out by the Troy defense and a 28-yard punt by Sean Kelly gave the Trojans the ball on their own 46-yard line. Six plays later Robinson found Jaquon Robinson streaking across the middle for a 20-yard touchdown.

Florida Atlantic took over on its own 25-yard line following the ensuing kickoff and on the first play of the drive Chris Pickett knocked the ball out of Martese Jackson’s hands and T.J. Bryant fell on the loose ball for the Trojans. Pickett has now forced a fumble in three straight games and finished the game with nine tackles.

Southward took a Robinson pass 27 yards down to the Florida Atlantic 2-yard line on the first play of the drive and then two plays later cashed in the touchdown from 1-yard out to knot the game at 17-all.

The Trojans step out of conference for the first time since mid-September next weekend when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to face Tennessee in Neyland Stadium. Kickoff between the Trojans and Volunteers is set for 11 a.m. (CDT) and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.