Trojans roll to seventh straight win
Published 4:25 pm Saturday, November 11, 2023
The Troy Trojans (8-2, 5-1) hit the road on Saturday and won their seventh straight game, coming away with a 45-14 Sun Belt Conference win over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (2-8, 0-7).
Troy’s dominant defense – leading the Sun Belt in most statistical categories coming into the game – played “bend but don’t break” in the first half. ULM had four opportunities in the red-zone in the first half but Troy forced three turnovers on downs and blocked a field goal in those chances.
The Trojans scored the first 21 points of the game, leading 21-0 at halftime. Troy scored first on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Gunnar Watson to Damien Taylor with 5:55 left in the first quarter and took a 14-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Jabre Barber. Troy also scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Devonte Ross with 6:52 left in the first half.
ULM finally got on the scoreboard with 7:36 left in the third quarter as J. Wright threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to T. Howell. Troy put a stop to any potential momentum, however, as Troy native Scott Taylor Renfroe booted a 32-yard field goal with 4:04 left in the third and then the Trojans added a 5-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Ethan Conner as the fourth quarter began.
ULM got back on the scoreboard with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Wright to B. Tolbert with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter. After Troy’s Dorian Jackson recovered a ULM muffed punt deep into Warhawk territory, backup quarterback Goose Crowder threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Asa Martin to put Troy up 38-14 with 5:27 left. It was the first touchdown for both players. Tae Meadows added a 5-yard touchdown pass with under two minutes left to give Troy the 45-14 win.
The Troy offense rolled up 346 yards against ULM. Watson completed 24-of-39 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns, while Kimani Vidal earned 50 yards on 15 carries along with four catches for 46 yards. Barber caught eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Crowder, Martin and Meadows all scored their first-career touchdowns in the win.
While ULM managed 309 yards of offense, the Trojan defense was once again dominant on third and fourth downs. Troy held ULM to just 4-of-15 on third downs – a week after holding South Alabama to 0-for-10 – and 0-for-4 on fourth downs.
The Trojans also earned 11 tackles-for-loss and nine sacks as a defense with Javon Solomon and Richard Jibunor practically living in the Warhawk backfield. Solomon tied the single-game Troy record with four sacks, matching former NFL star Usi Umenyiora’s 2002 record. Solomon also tallied four tackles-for-loss and a quarterback hurry, while Jibunor earned eight tackles, four tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Irshaad Davis also tallied a team-high nine tackles.
Troy is back at “The Vet” next Saturday for the regular season home finale against Louisiana.