Homecoming victory: Trojans win in final seconds
Published 7:06 pm Saturday, October 5, 2013
By Danielle Percival
Despite giving up a touchdown with less than a minute to go, the Troy Trojans were able to answer with a touchdown of their own with seven seconds left on the clock, stealing a homecoming victory against South Alabama 34-33.
In thrilling fashion, quarterback Corey Robinson connected with wide receiver Eric Thomas for a 20-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and Will Scott gave the Trojans the lead with the extra point.
“We told Corey, throw it to no one but Eric, throw it up where Eric’s got a chance. Eric, if you can’t catch it, you cannot let him catch it. You cannot let it be an interception,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “You’ve either got to be a great receiver or a great DB [defensive back] in a split second.”
“I knew once the ball was in the air I had a chance to go get it,” Thomas said.
He caught the game-tying touchdown on a play where pass interference was called, as he had a defensive back nearly on top of him in the end zone.
“I still had to come down with it in order for us to win the game,” Thomas said.
Thomas broke the Sun Belt conference record for career touchdown receptions on a 62-yard pass from quarterback Deon Anthony in the second quarter.
He finished the game with 5 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns and now has 26 career touchdown grabs.
The Trojans led by as many as 17 in the game but the Jaguars scored four touchdowns in the second half including their go-ahead score with 48 seconds on the clock.
Safety Jeremy Spikner attempted to intercept a South Alabama pass down the sideline, but instead, the ball fell into Jaguars’ receiver Jereme Jones’ hands and he sprinted for a 65-yard touchdown.
“It’s heartbreaking running down the field cause I thought he [Spikner] had an interception, and to see the ball tipped, my heart dropped,” linebacker Mark Wilson said. “Thank God for Eric Thomas.”
Though Thomas was the superstar with the memorable play at the end, Robinson said there was another player who was responsible for making the victory possible.
“Brandon Burks is the player of the game in my eyes,” Robinson said. “He won this game for us on that wheel route that he caught. I had nowhere else to go with it.”
Burks finished the game with 100 rushing yards, which was the first time in his career he has reached the century mark.
The Trojans had not won a homecoming game in their last three seasons and Robinson said this one was special.
“We haven’t won a homecoming game since I’ve been here and to win one like this was outstanding,” Robinson said.
The win snaps a three game losing streak for Troy and gives them their first victory in conference play.
“It’s a big step for us in conference too because now we’re 1-1 and control our own destiny,” Thomas said.
This is the first game of five straight the Trojans will play in conference and beginning with a win could help give the team confidence.
“Anytime you get a win you’re feeling good going in to the next week. No matter in what fashion or by how many points, one or 60. They all feel the same,” Robinson said. “It’s always a little bit extra momentum.”