Chunn proving he belongs
Jordan Chunn looked like he was right where he belonged in the daunted Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Saturday during Troy’s 24-21 over the LSU Tigers.
Chunn rushed for 192 yards on 30 carries to help the Trojans to victory including a 74-yard run that set up a touchdown.
The SEC has been believed to have the best defenses in the country for years. They are known to be fast and play with a lot of intensity. Chunn said the Trojans saw that up close on Saturday.
“To tell you the truth, to be honest with you, they are fast,” Chunn said. “We came out and our O-linemen did a great job of getting on their blocks and everything. The 74-yard run I had, that lets you know how fast those guys are. He came flying. I looked up at the JumboTron at the last minute and realized he was on my tail.”
Coming out of high school, Chunn didn’t get any offers from teams within the SEC, meaning Saturday’s performance means a little bit more and it’s one that he will cherish.
“I was trying to prove myself that I can play with you guys,” Chunn said. “Out of high school, I didn’t have any SEC offers. The Sun Belt was the only conference that really bought in and offered me out of high school. It feels great to run up 191 yards on those guys.”
After the game, color analyst Kirk Morrison described Chunn as an SEC-style running back. Head coach Neal Brown took it a step further by calling his top rusher an NFL-style back.
“I think time will tell, but I feel like he played at the highest level of anyone on that football field on Saturday,” Brown said. “That’s even with two fumbles. If he doesn’t fumble it, he maybe gets another touchdown and is at least a 200-yard rusher. I don’t how many times an opponent has gone in there and done that. That was the best game that I have seen him play.”
Chunn carried the ball over 30 times for the first time since last year’s rain-soaked meeting with Southern Mississippi. Despite the workload, Chunn is ready to get back at it.
“My legs feel good and I’ve recovered well, so I’m ready to go again, but we have a bye week,” Chunn said.
The Trojans knew they had to set up the run early against the Tiger defense. With Chunn’s style of running, the hope was to wear down the Tigers.
“We knew going into the game that he was going to have to play a significant role,” Brown said. “We were going to have to wear them down. At 230lbs, he is a guy that gets better the more times he carries it.”
For offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield, Saturday’s performance verifies the amount of potential that Chunn has as a running back.
“I think what it does is it solidifies what we’ve been saying all along,” Edenfield said. “He’s a really good back, but he’s not a flashy back by any means. I think sometimes people forget about that. He’s a guy that, as the game goes on, he wears down (the defense).”
Even with Chunn creeping up to his potential, Edenfield believes there is still another level.
“He’s a really good pass receiver out of the backfield, but he could really get better at getting leverage on guys,” Edenfield said. “He made one really good play the other night. If he could get on his edge, he could have broken free on that one, too. There are some things he can continue to work on.”