LAS CRUCES, NM (WSFA) - The Trojans opened their Sun Belt Conference slate on the road with a nail-biting victory over New Mexico State. A 27-24 victory, fell into the hands of the Trojans as they were able to hold on to the lead out in Las Cruces.
A game far different from last year's 52-6 win for Troy, the Aggies kept the Trojans on edge from start to finish. After forcing New Mexico State to punt to open the game, Troy completed a 5-play 50-yard drive with a touchdown by way of Brandon Silvers hooking up with junior East Mississippi Community College transfer Damion Willis for the 9-yard score.
New Mexico State answered with a field goal on a 66-yard drive. Troy would answer with another touchdown drive, 73 yards capped with a Jordan Chunn 3-yard touchdown run. It looked as if last year's game would begin to repeat itself, but the Aggie defense proved formidable, forcing a Trojan missed field goal and back-to-back turnovers on downs to end the first half.
Troy held a 10-point lead at the break holding New Mexico State to -2 rushing yards, while rushing for 62 yards of their own.
In the second half, Jamarius Henderson opened the scoring for Troy with his third rushing touchdown of the season, putting Troy up 20-3. But New Mexico State wouldn't go away, striking on a 46-yard touchdown pass to close within 11. After forcing a Troy punt, the Aggies drove the field, converting a critical 3rd and 10, and in the red zone, scored another touchdown to close the lead to 20-16.
With the momentum seeming to shift, Troy found an answer, a Brandon Silvers 32-yard touchdown scamper.
Troy clinging to a 27-16 lead at the end of the third quarter would bend but not break. New Mexico State pulled to within 3 with 9:49 to play but the defense, building a wall of their own, would stop the Aggies from scoring anymore on the night.
Troy received the ball inside their own 10 late in the fourth, but huge runs from Jordan Chunn advanced the sticks, and bought the Trojans enough breathing room for them to force New Mexico State to use their timeouts. One more third-down conversion sealed the game for Troy with nearly a minute to play, all but ensuring their first conference win.
Troy at 1-0 in conference play, and 2-1 on the young season will host Akron for a non-conference match-up next Saturday at 5 p.m.