‘Tail-whipping’: Arkansas State powers over Troy in battle for first place
Published 1:16 am Friday, November 18, 2016
The Trojans became the 15th consecutive Sun Belt Conference team to fall to Arkansas State in a disappointing 35-3 loss on Thursday.
The Trojans turned the ball over five times and fell to 8-2, giving the Red Wolves sole possession of first place in the conference.
“I thought that was a solid tail whipping,” said Troy head coach Neal Brown. “They came in here as a conference champion and took it to us in our own stadium. I thought they out coached us and out played us.”
The Trojans were outgained on offense 388 to 262 on Thursday night, and Brown didn’t like how the Trojans fought in the second half, when they surrendered 28 points.
“I didn’t like how we reacted; I don’t think we had the fight in the fourth quarter,” Brown said. “I didn’t like how we attacked, and we are not going to be about that. We might not win another football game this year, I am not really concerned about it right now, but we are not going to handle adversity like we handled it tonight. That is not what we are going to be about.”
On their first offensive play as a ranked team, the Trojans turned the ball over when Emmanuel Thompson fumbled the ball near midfield giving the ball over to the Red Wolves.
Arkansas State got as far as the Trojan 41-yard line before having to punt. Following the fumble, the defenses remained in control throughout the first quarter. Both teams combined for six punts in the first 14 minutes of the game. The Trojans finally got on the board with a minute remaining in the quarter as Ryan Kay nailed a 43-yard field goal to cap a six play, 22-yard drive.
The Trojans held the Red Wolves to just 22 yards on 21 plays in the opening quarter compared to 75 for Troy.
The Red Wolves went on an 11-play drive and finally punched the ball over the goal line for the game’s first touchdown when Justice Hansen connected on an eight-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Sanders with 3:02 remaining in the half. The drive was extended when the Red Wolves converted on a fake punt attempt when Chris Humes hauled in a 31-yard catch for a first down on the nine-yard line. Arkansas State held a 7-3 lead at the half.
Chunn averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in the first half and rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries. Brandon Silvers completed eight of 16 passes for 44 yards.
The Trojans once again turned over the football on the first play of the second half, when Silvers was stripped of the football and it was picked up in the end zone by Humes to increase the Red Wolves lead to 14-3.
The Red Wolves got on the board again when Chad Voytik walked in for a four-yard touchdown run to increase their lead to 20-3.
Johnston White scampered into the red zone from 24-yards out to give Arkansas State a commanding 28-3 lead with 8:59 remaining in the third quarter. Chris Murray had the big completion on the drive, hauling in a 45-yard completion to set Arkansas State up at the 24-yard line.
The Red Wolves closed out their scoring when they embarked on a 16-play 10:53 drive that concluded with a six-yard rush by Daryl Rollins Davis and the Red Wolves led 35-3.
“Defensively I don’t think we handled adversity well at all in the second half,” Brown said. “I don’t know want that drive was, 11 minutes? That is not what we are about.”
Silvers finished the game completing 20 of 39 passes for 207 yards and two interceptions.
Chunn, who became the ninth Trojan to rush for 1,000 yards finished with 51 yards on 16 carries and Emmanuel Thompson led the way for the Trojans in receiving with 10 catches for 117 yards.
“He is beat up and didn’t practice all week,” Brown said. “They beat us. They have two NFL guys playing tackle. They whipped us up front.”
The Trojans will hit the road next Saturday to take on Texas State.
“This game is over as of now,” said Thompson. “I am pretty sure it’s behind everybody. We are going to start working tomorrow on Texas State.”