Troy knocks off Texas State, becomes bowl eligible
Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 29, 2013
By Danielle Percival
For the first time since 2010, the Troy Trojans avoided a losing season and reached bowl eligibility with a 42-28 victory over Texas State on Friday.
The Trojans ended the regular season 6-6, finishing third in the Sun Belt Conference and now await word on bowl projections.
“It means a lot. Everybody wants to win every game,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “For those guys to turn it back in that direction and have a chance to get a bowl is a great thing for our program and our university and certainly for them.”
The game marked the final time 22 seniors took the field at Veterans Memorial Stadium including quarterbacks Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony.
Robinson finished the day 17-of-22 with 133 yards and a touchdown, while Anthony finished with 164 yards and two scores after going 4-of-5 in the game.
This marked the return of Anthony after undergoing ankle surgery that could have ended his season.
“I did a lot of work while I was sitting out,” Anthony said. “I wanted to get this last one on this field, you know, and send everybody out on a good note.”
The defense was also able to step up and was led by safety Camren Hudson who ended his final game at home with a career high in tackles, leading the team with 12.
“My whole mindset today was to finish off with a bang,” Hudson said. “Just go out like it was my last.”
Though it was senior day, there were underclassmen that stepped up into big roles.
Running back Jordan Chunn set the Troy record for most touchdowns in a season by a freshman on his first touchdown of the day.
“Records don’t matter to me,” Chunn said. “Coming from high school, our coach didn’t really harp on stats so it kind of rubbed off on me.”
Chunn finished as the team’s leading rusher with 83 yards and two touchdowns as well as a season long 47-yard run.
“I thought I [had the touchdown], but I saw him coming up beside me,” Chunn said. “All the players on the sideline always harp on me about getting caught.”
Wide receiver Bryan Holmes was also a big contributor in the game on both offense and special teams for returns.
Holmes put the Trojans on the board late in the first quarter on a 58-yard reception from Anthony, on a play where Holmes sprinted down the sidelines.
“I really didn’t know how close I was. People on the sideline just had told me that they probably thought I had stepped out,” Holmes said. “I had just seen Chris [Williams] make a great block for me and then I just knew that if the safety didn’t take a good angle, I was gonna score on that play.”
Though these underclassmen know the importance of stepping up to fill in the shoes of seniors moving on, Holmes said it was a bittersweet experience.
“It’s kind of a little sad for me that some of them are going to be gone, like Eric [Thomas],” Holmes said. “I looked up to him a lot, and when I get down he always encourages me.”
Holmes finished the day with 128 yards on three receptions and a touchdown while his mentor, Thomas, ended with six grabs for 82 yards and a score.
“It really didn’t hit me yet,” Thomas said. “Once it hits me, I think it’ll be kind of sad knowing this is my last game in this stadium and playing in front of this home crowd.”
“I have 22 seniors leaving this program that meant a lot to us,” Blakeney said. “They’ve been through some struggles and they’re probably better because of all that. I hope they get somewhere [bowl] to go. We have some pretty good guys that deserve that opportunity.”
The Sun Belt currently has 5 teams that have reached bowl eligibility and with the regular season in the books, the Trojans will now await bowl projections.