TROY, AL - Troy University senior quarterback Levi Brown had a record-setting day in leading the Trojans to a 50-26 homecoming victory over the University of North Texas Saturday afternoon.
Brown broke a 41-year-old school record for passing yards in a game by throwing for 469 yards against the Mean Green. The effort topped the mark set on September 14, 1968, by Hall of Famer Sim Byrd. That record, 454 yards set against Samford, was broken with a simple pass down the left hash to Austin Silvoy.
The play resulted in a 39-yard gain, and moved Brown past Byrd's mark, which had stood for 467 games.
"I saw the stats on the video board before that last drive and I saw I was about 430 at the time," Brown said. "I knew I needed 20 or so more yards and told Coach (Neal) Brown that I only needed a few more yards and he didn't even say anything back."
But the coaching staff was aware of the record.
"We had already made the decision to bench him, but we found out that he had a chance to break the record and we gave him another series to get it done," Trojans coach Larry Blakeney said. "Neal asked me about it and I said to put him back in, get it done and get him out. Silvoy caught the record breaker and he gets wide open out there sometimes."
The record-breaking performance led to a meeting on the field after the game. Byrd was in attendance and made sure to find Brown on the field.
"It was great," Brown said of the meeting. "I have been wanting to meet him for a long time. I am glad he came down and spoke to me. That meant a lot to me. I know he played on the national championship team in 1968 and has pretty much every passing record there is at Troy. It was just an honor to meet him."
Brown not only broke the school single-game record, but he made a move in career passing yards on the afternoon. The senior entered the game sixth overall in passing yards with 3,709 for his career, but he moved to fourth all-time after the performance on Saturday.
Brown passed former Trojans Kelvin Simmons (1992-93) and Mike Turk (1984-87) with 4,278 passing yards for his career; and still has at least five games remaining this season.
The Mt. Juliet, Tennessee native also moved up one spot to seventh all-time in passing touchdowns, as he connected on a second quarter touchdown with Tebiarus Gill. He is now tied with Willie Tullis (1978-80) and Bobby Lee (1972-75) with 25 career TD tosses.
While Brown was breaking the big record, he was not the only Trojan making a move on the career charts. Junior running back DuJuan Harris rumbled into the end zone twice to move up a few spots on the rushing touchdowns list. He entered the game tied for ninth all-time with 15 touchdowns, and now stands alone in sixth place with 17 rushing touchdowns.
Overall, the offense rolled up 697 yards on Saturday, the most since the Alcorn State last season.
"We really came out and played as one tonight, and that is what we have to do," Harris said. "We executed pretty well and were able to score pretty quick.
"The chemistry is better and we are working as a team. We can't have one person on the field mess up because that might mess up the whole play. We seem to be getting better every week, and we have to keep that going."
The Trojans offense, which averaged less than 16 points per game for the first three games of the season, came out of the gates quickly on Saturday on their way to 50 total points. The point total was the highest since early in the 2008 season against Alcorn State at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.
Since the UAB game on September 19, the Trojans have averaged 38.3 points per game en route to four consecutive conference victories.
The Trojans scored two first quarter touchdowns on short Harris runs, with the two drives combining for just three minutes off the game clock. Troy had two more quick TD drives in the second quarter, with Brown throwing for a 20-yard score to Tebiarus Gill and Maurice Greer running for another.
A pair of Michael Taylor field goals gave Troy a 34-7 lead at the break.
Troy got the ball to start the second half and scored quickly again, this time on Brown's first career rushing touchdown.
"We were able to generate a lot of offense and played, except for four or five plays, pretty well on defense," Blakeney said. "I was really proud of the third quarter again. We came out for the third and took the ball right down the field and got points there to regain control and momentum."
The offense was not the only part of the team to shine on homecoming Saturday, as junior Daniel Sheffield became the first Trojan in the modern era to block two point-after touchdown attempts in the same game.
Junior defensive tackle Eugene Kinlaw also recorded the school's first safety since the 2005 season against FIU. Senior Bear Woods recorded his first career interception in the second quarter, marking just the fourth interception for the Trojans this season.
"I had good coverage on the play," Woods said of his pick. "The quarterback looked away, then looked back as if I was going to leave, and he knew right away that it was an interception because he came to tackle me. When he threw it, right when I caught the ball he was on top of me."
From their, the Trojans were able to get reserves some much-needed action as they built 50-13 lead before the beginning of the fourth quarter. Freshman Shawn Southward accounted for the Trojans' final points on a two-yard run.
Sophomore D.J. Taylor ran for 53 yards on six carries down the stretch. Harris finished the game with 66 yards and Southward had 39.
A season-high 14 players had at least one reception in the game for the Trojans.
Troy returns to action next Saturday when the Trojans host ULM, undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play, at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium on Halloween night. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will not be televised.
"Now it is Monroe, Monroe, Monroe," Blakeney said. "They are a good, good football team. They have to come here and we have to make sure that we get ourselves ready and right."