Smothering defense lifts Troy over Army 

Published 5:45 pm Saturday, October 14, 2023

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Despite a rainy, soggy afternoon in New York, a dominant defense lifted the Troy Trojans to a 19-0 win over the Army Black Knights on Saturday.  

It was the first home shutout loss for Army since 2003. The first half was all Troy with the Trojans rolling up 300 total yards and holding Army to just 131 yards and forcing two turnovers. While Troy controlled the game in the soggy, rainy first half, the Trojans were unable to find their way into the end zone until late in the half.  

Troy kicker Scott Taylor Renfroe booted 24, 35 and 32-yard field goals in the first half to give the Trojans a 9-0 lead. Troy got the ball back with under four minutes remaining. Gunnar Watson found a wide-open streaking Chris Lewis for a 52-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left in the half to give Troy a 16-0 lead at halftime.  

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Coming into the game, Troy Coach Jon Sumrall pointed to the turnover battle being key to a win. Coming into the game, Army was undefeated when winning the turnover battle. In the first half, Troy forced two Army turnovers and did not turn the ball over themselves.  

Troy opened the second half adding more points when Renfroe drilled a career-long 43-yard field goal to put Troy up 19-0 with 10:09 left in the period. That marked his fourth field goal of the game, which tied Greg Whibbs’ school-record for a single game.  

The Troy defense continued to dominate Army in the second half, allowing just 117 yards in the half. Coming into the game, Army was one of the top teams in the country on fourth down, converting 13-of-14 fourth down attempts. The Trojan defense completely owned fourth down, however, holding Army to just 1-of-5 on fourth down attempts. 

Late in the game, Army strung together it’s best drive of the game marching inside the Troy 15 with just three minutes remaining. Facing a fourth-and-7, though, Richard Jibunor sacked Army quarterback Champ Harris and forced a fumble, which was scooped up by safety Irshaad Davis.  

The Troy defense tallied nine tackles-for-loss and six sacks on the day, while also forcing four turnovers. Jayden McDonald led the Troy defense with 13 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack and a forced fumble, while Jibunor tallied five tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. TJ Jackson recorded five tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a sack and a fumble recovery, while Phillip Lee and Jordan Stringer each earned a sack. Davis earned five tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.  

Troy piled up 449 yards of offense with 222 yards on the ground and 227 yards in the air. For Troy’s offense, Watson completed 10-of-21 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, while Kimani Vidal churned out 116 yards on 23 carries. Jabre Barber also caught four passes for 138 yards. Damien Taylor rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries.  

Troy is back on the road again Oct. 28 at Texas State as the Trojans return to conference play. Troy is off next week.