Troy runs win streak to 8, downs Louisiana on Senior Day

The Troy Trojans defeated Louisiana 31-24 Saturday to improve to 9-2 on the season. (Troy Athletics)

TROY, Ala. –Jabre Barber threw a 20-yard pass and pulled down the touchdown reception on Troy’s game-winning drive in its 31-24 victory over Louisiana on Senior Day at The Vet in Sun Belt Conference action.

The win puts Troy (9-2, 6-1 SBC) in prime position to host the Sun Belt Championship Game for a second straight season, as the Trojans can clinch hosting rights outright with a win at Southern Miss next week. Troy has now won 21 of its last 23 games, eight straight overall, and the Trojans are a perfect 11-0 against the Sun Belt West Division the last two seasons.

Louisiana (5-6, 2-5) tied the game on Chandler Fields’ third touchdown pass of the game, a 4-yard strike to Terrance Carter, with 7:19 to play in the game. Troy answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive, featuring Barber’s pass and touchdown reception, to secure the victory.

Gunnar Watson continued his dominant senior season, throwing three touchdown passes, his fifth game this season with three-plus touchdowns. Watson has 13 touchdown strikes over the last four games; the sixth-year senior had 14 touchdown passes all of 2022.

The Cajuns led 10-3 midway through the second quarter before Troy’s offense found its rhythm, sparked by a 43-yard connection from Watson to Barber on the first play of a drive following a Louisiana field goal.

Two plays later, Kimani Vidal found the end zone from 13 yards out to tie the game at 10-all. Troy’s defense forced the Cajuns into a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and a penalty set up the Trojans in prime position on the Louisiana 35-yard line.

The Trojans milked all but 21 seconds off the first half clock before Clayton Ollendieck caught a 1-yard touchdown pass, the first of his career, to put Troy in front at the break.

Louisiana tied the game with the only points of the third quarter, a Fields 4-yard touchdown pass before Chris Lewis made another circus catch for his eighth touchdown of the season, giving Troy a 24-17 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

Vidal rushed for 112 yards to move into fourth place on Troy’s single-season rushing list, just 48 yards shy of becoming the Trojans’ single-season rushing leader.

Louisiana’s strong rushing game, which entered the week ranked in the top 25 nationally, never got going as Troy held the Cajuns to just 66 yards on the ground. Additionally, the Trojans sacked Fields five times in the game, three by Javon Solomon after he had four in Troy’s win at ULM last week.

Quotable – Troy Head Coach Jon Sumrall
“Really happy for our seniors to win on Senior Day. It wasn’t our best football at times, but in this league, you’re going to have to win some hard-fought games that maybe aren’t the prettiest. That program we played today ran this league for several years. From 2018-2021, they were really the class of the league. But I told our guys that were seniors today; in 2019, that team beat us 53-3 when those guys were freshmen. And then in 2021, they beat us 35-21 and then last year, they kicked our butts for three quarters, and we just kind of pulled out a miracle in the fourth quarter. This year, we didn’t play very good early, but I think at times, we showed what we’re capable of and to show the growth of this program against some really good teams. [Louisiana’s] got great players. That o-line is really. That quarterback is a really quality football player. Up and down the roster, they have really good players and are well-coached. Happy to get the win. Jobs not done. Work’s not done. We’ve got a lot to play for in front of us. So, we’ll enjoy this tonight. Get back to work tomorrow.”

Up Next
Troy closes out the regular season at Southern Miss next Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU. The Trojans have already clinched their spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game on Dec. 2.

• Troy improved to 5-3 when trailing after the first quarter under Jon Sumrall; Louisiana led 7-0 at the end of the first.

• Troy improved to 14-1 under Jon Sumrall when leading at the half; Troy led Louisiana 17-10 at the break.

• Since losing on a Hail Mary at App State in Week 3 last season, Troy is 20-2.

• Troy has outscored its opponents 219-61 over its past seven games.

• Troy is 11-0 against SBC West Division opponents over the last two seasons; Troy joined the West Division in 2022.

• Troy possessed the ball for 28:14 in the victory, just the second time the Trojans did not win the time of possession battle this season.

• Kimani Vidal moved into a tie for fifth place in Troy history with his 27th career rushing touchdown, tying him with DuJuan Harris.

• Gunnar Watson attempted 31 passes without an interception and now has attempted 194 straight passes without an interception.

• Troy scored 14 points in the fourth quarter; the Trojans entered the weekend 13th nationally, averaging 9.7 points in the fourth quarter

• Troy has won 16 straight games and 18 of its last 19 when rushing for more than 100 yards; Troy rushed for 148 yards against the Cajuns.

• Kimani Vidal rushed for 112 yards on 27 carries, his 13th career 100-yard rushing game and sixth this season. His six this year tied the Troy single-season record (DeWhitt Betterson, Arrid Gregory), while his career total is one off Betterson’s career record.

• Troy improved to 12-1 when Kimani Vidal rushes for 100-plus yards and 24-3 when he rushes for 50-plus yards.

• Troy did not turn the ball over in the game against Louisiana; the Trojans have committed just four turnovers in their last seven games after turning the ball over 10 times in the first four games.

• Troy didn’t allow a sack for the fifth time this season.

• Javon Solomon had three sacks in the game; this one week after, he recorded four sacks at ULM. He is one of just three players nationally to have multiple games with three or more sacks this year. It was his sixth career game with multiple sacks and third career with 3-plus sacks.

• Javon Solomon moved into third place in Troy history with 30 career sacks after recording three against the Cajuns, passing teammate Richard Jibunor, who sits fourth with 29.5 after he had one against the Cajuns.

• Richard Jibunor moved into fourth place in Troy history with 42.5 tackles for loss after three against Louisiana; Javon Solomon moved with five of second place all-time in Troy history, also with three on Saturday.

• Troy held Louisiana to 66 rushing yards, its sixth opponent this year under the 100-yard mark, which is tied for the fifth most in Troy’s FBS history.

• Troy held Louisiana to 1-for-7 on third down after the Cajuns converted three of their first five third-down attempts.

• Troy has held 18 of its last 20 opponents to fewer than 400 yards; Louisiana finished with 348 yards of total offense.

• Troy entered the weekend having allowed just one rushing touchdown in its last five games, the third-fewest in the country. Troy held Louisiana without a rushing touchdown in the game.

• With five sacks against the Cajuns, Troy now has 28 sacks in its last six games after just six in its first five games.

• Scott Taylor Renfroe hit a career-best 44-yard field goal to put the Trojans on the board in the second quarter.

• Scott Taylor Renfroe moved into second place on the single-season field goal list with 18 this season; he is two shy of tying the school record.