A 30-yard field goal from Will Scott gave Troy a 34-31 overtime win against UAB Aug. 31, and capped a record setting night for the Trojans.
Quarterback Corey Robinson set a national record with a 93.8 percent completion percentage after finishing 30-of-32 for 319 yards and a touchdown in the game. He also passed former Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin for the Sun Belt Conference record for yardage and broke Aplin’s Sun Belt career completions record on a 6-yard pass to B.J. Chitty. Robinson also tied Troy’s consecutive completions record with 20 on a 6-yard completion to former Daleville running back Brandon Burks in the fourth quarter.
Burks earned the start in the season opener, and scored Troy’s first touchdown on s 10-yard run less than three minutes into the game to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead. Burks had nine carries for 41 yards in the game.
“I liked what I saw out of Burks early,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “He has the power, but he can run.”
The coaching staff had the confidence to name Burks the starter, and the sophomore played well.
“To know the coaches had confidence in me boosted my effort to play hard,” Burks said. “It’s always good (to know) the coaches have confidence in you.”
UAB answered to tie the game 7-7 with a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Austin Brown to Jamarcus Nelson. The pass wasn’t the only scoring strike Brown threw in the opening quarter.
He also tossed a 42-yard touchdown to Jamari Staples, which gave the Blazers a 14-7 advantage.
The Blazers’ Ty Long kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, and UAB stretched its lead to 17-7 at the half.
Nearly halfway through the third quarter, Robinson found Eric Thomas on a 23-yard touchdown strike to cut the Blazers’ advantage to 17-14, but the small lead was increased a short time later.
UAB’s Nelson took the ensuing kickoff and raced 97 yards to the end zone, and the Blazers led 24-14.
Scott booted an 18-yard field goal to close the gap to 24-17, but UAB widened the lead once again, this time to 31-17, when Brown found Nelson for a 62-yard touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, the Troy offense awakened.
Running back Jordan Chunn capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive and cut the deficit to 31-24 with an 11-yard touchdown run.
“He’s got a knack,” Blakeney said. “He’s got a big body, and he understands north and south.”
The Troy defense stepped up to force a punt, and gave the Trojans the ball.
With 5:03 remaining on the fourth-quarter clock, Troy started a drive at its own 41 and reached the UAB 1 with a 31-yard pass and a roughing the passer penalty on the Blazers.
Deon Anthony scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game 31-31 with 3:17 remaining.
“That showed me a lot about this team,” Robinson said following the win. “That showed me the guys on this football team have heart.”
The Blazers couldn’t find the end zone before regulation ended, but began the overtime period on offense.
The Troy defense forced a field goal attempt, which would have given UAB the win, and the Blazers botched the snap.
“I thought (special teams coach) Shane (Wasden) made a great call on the all-out block,” Blakeney said. “I had a feeling we had a chance.”
The play gave Troy the football, and Scott connected on the game-winning field goal. As he prepared to kick the ball, his team was the only thing on his mind.
“I really just don’t want to let anybody down,” Scott said. “My teammates put their bodies on the line every single play, and they got me down there and into a good situation. You can’t really have anything on your mind other than that.”
The win moved Troy to 1-0 on the season in dramatic fashion.
“Unbelievable,” Robinson said. “The fashion it was in just builds it even more. That showed me a lot about this team and about some of the guys on our football team, that they have heart. We all have a goal we set, and hopefully we can continue to ride this wave and keep it going.”
Troy hosts Savannah State at 6 p.m. Saturday in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I was really proud of the comeback,” Blakeney said. “I was really proud that our guys hung in there. (There was) a lot of character displayed. That’s what it’s all about.”