The Troy Trojans picked up a 37-13 win over the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the “Battle For The Belt” live on ESPN2.
The victory was Troy’s second consecutive win in the rivalry game and makes the Trojans 5-3 overall in the game.
The Trojans dominated the second half to lead their way to the win in a game that saw both teams turn the ball over three times.
After giving up 36.8 points per game and 402.4 yards in Troy’s first five games of the season, the Trojan defense gave up just 13 points and 274 yards of total offense.
South Alabama had the ball inside the Troy 5-yard line three times and forced a turnover on downs once and two field goals.
“This was a good win for us,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said after the game. “It was good to keep the belt here in Troy, which I know was a point of emphasis this week.
“Sometimes in these rivalry games you never know what kind of performance you’re going to get from your team, so I’m really proud of our team. Tonight, was a total team effort, and I’m extremely proud of the defense as they were the key to the game.”
Troy sliced through the Jags defense on a 12-play drive to open the game but bogged down inside the South 10-yard line and booted a 31-yard field goal with 10:38 left in the opening period to take a 3-0 lead.
South responded with its own 11-play drive that ended in a 17-yard field goal with 5:15 left in the first quarter to tie the game 3-3.
Troy closed out the quarter with a 14-play drive that bled over into the second quarter and capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Barker to Kaylon Geiger with 14:17 left in the second quarter to give Troy a 10-3 lead.
South drove back inside the Troy red-zone but the Trojan defense held and forced a field goal, which was good. Unfortunately for Troy, a Trojan defender was flagged for roughing the kicker giving South the ball deep in Troy territory with a fresh set of downs.
The Jaguars drove inside the Troy 3-yard line, but the Trojan defense stiffened up again and forced a turnover on downs. Barker fumbled just two plays later, though, and gave the Jags the ball right back at the Troy 3-yard line.
On the next play, South Alabama’s Kawaan Baker scored on a 3-yard run on an end-around to tie the game up 10-10 with 6:07 left in the first half.
Sumpter gave the Trojans the lead back on a 22-yard field goal with 1:08 left in the half and then Trojan cornerback Will Sunderland made an interception at midfield. Sumpter closed out the half with a 29-yard field as time expired to give Troy a 16-10 lead at halftime.
After forcing a Jaguars three-and-out to open the second half, Troy extended its lead to 23-10 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Barker to Geiger.
The Jags drove back down the field but had to settled for a 31-yard field to cut Troy’s lead to 23-13.
Barker was intercepted on Troy’s next possession but Sunderland answered for the Trojans again when he stepped in front of a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Troy extended its lead to 30-13 with 14:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Troy closed out the game with a 4-yard touchdown run from Trevon Woolfolk with 4:09 remaining to give Troy the 37-13 win.
Barker had an unusually rough day despite the win as he completed 20-of-30 passes for just 194 yards along with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Troy running back DK Billingsley eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third time this season as he rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries. Woolfolk also had 42 yards and a touchdown on 10 rushes.
Bret Clark led the Trojan receivers with four catches for 60 yards, while Geiger had four catches for 29 yards and two touchdowns.
Troy All-American linebacker Carlton Martial had yet another big day for the Trojans as he had 10 tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a forced fumble. Despite coming into the game with “flu-like symptoms,” Sunderland had four tackles and two interceptions along with a touchdown return.