TROY, Ala. – Troy jumped out to a big first quarter lead and used a precision passing attack to defeat Navy 41-31 on Saturday in front of the fifth-largest crowd in Veterans Memorial Stadium history (24,321).
Navy became the first Service Academy to play a game in Veterans Memorial Stadium and the contest took place on the 237th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
The Trojans (5-5), who moved to within one game of bowl eligibility, staked a 21-0 lead after the first 17 minutes of the game before the Midshipmen's (6-4) triple option offense began to move the football.
Both of Troy's quarterbacks got into the mix early on as Deon Anthony threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Worthy for the first points of the game and B.J. Chitty hauled in a 62-yard pass from Corey Robinson for Troy's third touchdown of the afternoon.
Shawn Southward split the passing touchdowns with a 6-yard run on the Trojans' second possession of the game. His 33rd career rushing touchdown, just one shy of the Troy record, capped a 16-play, 87-yard drive by the Trojans; the second longest drive of the season. Robinson completed 25-of-28 attempts for 322 yards and the one touchdown, while Anthony was 9-of-12 through the air for 93 yards and the score.
Anthony continued to punish teams with his legs as he rushed for 56 yards and two scores. In the last four games, Anthony has thrown for six touchdowns and rushed for five more.
D.J. Taylor rushed for a career-best 68 yards on 11 carries and Southward added 52 yards on 12 rushes. Chip Reeves had a game-high eight catches for 88 yards, Worthy had six grabs for 64 yards and Jaquon Robinsonadded 58 yards on four catches.
The Trojans shredded the Midshipmen defense for 597 yards oneweek after torching Tennessee to the tune of 721 yards. Troy rushed for 193yards while Robinson and Anthony combined for 415 yards through the air. Navy freshman quarterback Kennan Reynolds took the team on his back in the second quarter after a costly fumble on the Troy 2-yard line.
Reynolds broke through the Troy defense for a 70-yard run, but defensive tackle Aaron Williams stripped the ball and it rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. Three plays later, Robinson and Chitty struck for the third-longest touchdown of the season by the Trojans.
Reynolds responded with a 5-yard touchdown run to cap an 8-play drive on the ensuing Midshipmen possession. Following a Troy interception deep in Navy territory, Reynolds threw a 68-yard pass to ShawnLynch and then scored with his legs from five yards out to cut the Troy lead to 21-14. Reynolds finished with 130 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, while Gee Gee Greene added 155 yards and a score on 16 carries.
Reynolds was 8-of-15 for 159 yards through the air. The triple-option attack netted 328 rushing yards and the Midshipmen finished the game with 487 yards of total offense. On the ensuing Troy possession, the Trojans worked the sideline on the first three plays before a 17-yard Robinson to Robinson pass across the middle.
Anthony punctuated the drive with a 44-yard run up the gut on the next play to give Troy a 28-14 lead. The Trojans tried to catch the Midshipmen off guard with an onsides kick, but Reeves caught the ball 1-yard shot of the minimum 10-yards to give Navy the ball on the Troy 39-yard line. Reynolds scored eight plays later to send the teams into the locker room with Troy leading 28-21. Will Scott booted a 25-yard field goal on Troy's secondpossession of the third quarter to stretch the Trojan lead out to 10, 31-21, but Greene broke through the Troy defense on the second play of the ensuing possession for a 59-yard touchdown.
Following a Troy turnover, Kyle Lucas came up with the defensive play of the game for the Trojans as he sacked Reynolds and knocked the ball loose at the Navy 47-yard line. Derrek Upshaw recovered the fumble and Anthony made Navy pay for the mistake with a 4-yard touchdown run. Nick Sloan pulled Navy back within one possession, 38-31, with 7:29 to play in the game with a 27-yard field goal. However, the Trojans milked over four minutes off the clock and got a 23-yard field goal from Scott with 3:09 remaining to ice the game.
The Trojans will play to become bowl eligible, next Saturday,when they host Arkansas State in Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff between the Trojans and Red Wolves is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by the Troy IMG Sports Network.