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Trojans Look Like Title Team

By BJ Bennett
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Troy, early on, was tested; the Trojans proved resilient, tough and potentially championship good.

In a critical Sun Belt showdown at Georgia Southern, Troy took a big step towards securing a spot in the league's first-ever conference title bout with a convincing 35-21 triumph in Statesboro. The Trojans, trailing 14-3 at the end of first quarter, rallied to outscore the Eagles 32-7 over the final three periods. Troy, early on, was tested; the Trojans proved resilient, tough and potentially championship good.

After a fumble and a corresponding touchdown from the Eagles three players later, Troy, suddenly down 14-3, responded with its drive of the year. The impact of the Trojans' 12-play, 85-yard answer was especially-key given the stakes. Quarterback Sawyer Smith led a drive that ultimately allowed Troy to gain control of momentum, the game and, possibly, given how the rest of the season plays out, the division. That touchdown included, the Trojans scored on consecutive drives of 85 and 92 yards to take a lead they would never give back.  

As the game progressed, Troy only improved. Like a veteran boxer, the Trojans took their opponent's best, then settled in and went to work.

Smith paced an offense that compiled 454 total yards and 24 first downs, holding the football for nearly 35 minutes. Troy's defense limited Georgia Southern to just 101 rushing yards on 34 carries, a notable feat; only Clemson has held the Eagles to fewer yards on the ground this season. Following Georgia Southern's second score, the Trojans allowed merely 54 total yards in forcing five punts from the Eagles on their next five drives. With Antione Barker making consistent plays, Troy's defense compiled three total sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Clearly, the Trojans' continue to thrive in the Sun Belt spotlight. Troy has currently won an impressive 12 league games in a row and 21 of 23 contests overall. The defending champions, the Trojans, to date, have been the class of the conference yet again. A multi-score road victory over the previous division leader comes with extra validation and momentum entering the stretch run. Left on the regular season schedule are tests with Texas State and Appalachian State, the latter showdown likely to come with deciding significance.  

No team in the Sun Belt has five conference wins; Troy now has six. Perfect in league play, the Trojans are fittingly positioned, with more success, to host the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game. On Saturday in Statesboro, Troy certainly looked the part.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports