Published 8:31 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Troy Athletics

MOBILE, Ala. – Sawyer Smith accounted for four touchdowns and the Troy defense pitched a shutout in the second half in a 38-17 Troy victory over South Alabama Tuesday night in the annual “Battle for the Belt” at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Making his second start, Smith tossed three touchdown passes and iced the game with a 1-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter as Troy (6-2, 4-0 Sun Belt) won its 10th straight Sun Belt Conference game. The Trojans are now bowl eligible for the third straight season and have won two straight games against the Jaguars on the road.

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“We went back to recommitting to the standard; the standard here is we expect to win every game,” Troy head coach Neal Brown said. “All of our goals are still out there; 4-0 in the league, that’s the only number that we look at.”

As they’ve done all season long, the Trojans raced out to an early lead with a 16-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter that quickly swelled to 23-7 on the first play of the second quarter. Troy has outscored its opponents 89-14 in the opening quarter over the past seven games.

B.J. Smith moved closer to etching his name in Troy history with his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game with a career-best 170 yards on 22 carries. He joins Arrid Gregory (1996) as the only two players in Troy history to top the century mark four straight times and no Trojan has done so in five consecutive contests.

Damion Willis was Sawyer Smith’s favorite target with five catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns while Deondre Douglas added a 6-yard touchdown reception to put Troy on the board on its opening drive.

Troy scored the game’s first nine points before South Alabama (2-6, 1-3) got on the board with an Evan Orth 16-yard touchdown pass. The Trojans quickly erased any momentum as Sawyer Smith connected on passes of 30 and 44 yards to Willis for a 2-play touchdown drive.

The Jaguars found the end zone just one more time in the game thanks to a Trojan defense that intercepted three passes, recorded four sacks and picked up seven tackles for loss.

Tron Folsom led the effort with a game-high 14 tackles with freshman Will Choloh adding a pair of sacks. Terence Dunlap set up Sawyer Smith’s final touchdown with an 88-yard interception return out of the end zone with 5:30 to play in the game.

Troy gashed South Alabama on the ground with 252 yards on just 35 carries – 7.2 yards per carry. The Trojans held the Jaguars to just 110 yards on the ground and only 2.4 yards per carry.