Not only did Troy make it into the Sun Belt Championship Game for the first time, but the Trojans also have an opportunity to host the game.
The Trojans maintained their spot with a 48-19 win at Arkansas State’s Sun Belt Conference at Centennial Bank Stadium. Running back Kimani Vidal rushed for 208 yards and four touchdowns in the victory for the Sun Belt West champion.
Earlier in the day, James Madison lashed out at Coastal Carolina, 47-7, to end the regular season. Coastal Carolina, who had already won the Sun Belt East, also missed a chance to host the championship game. Coastal Carolina will visit Troy next Saturday for the 2:30 p.m. championship game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I’m proud of our boys,” said Jon Sumrall, first-year Troy head coach. We still have a lot to do, but we’re not done yet. Once we got into a rhythm and in sync, we rolled. We’d been behind before but by the time I went into half-time I knew we were going to win the game. I didn’t doubt that our guys got promoted. To be able to host the Sun Belt Championship Game in Troy, Alabama is incredible and everyone needs to be there.”
Vidal continues his winning streak. The 5-foot-8, 215-pound sophomore rushed for more than 200 yards for the second straight week. He has 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns this season. His touchdown runs on Saturday came from 1, 7, 12, and 39 yards.
Troy struggled to get going for most of the first three quarters and was 19-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Vidal’s 7-yard scoring run gave Troy a 20-19 lead in the first game of the fourth quarter. Two minutes later, Troy defenseman Reddy Steward ended a long Arkansas State drive with an interception, which he returned 67 yards for a touchdown.
The Trojans dominated the rest of the game, scoring 34 points overall in the fourth quarter.
South Alabama 27, Old Dominion 20: Troy’s victory ensured South Alabama would not play in the Sun Belt Championship Game, but the Jaguars claimed a share of the SBC West title. Troy had the tie break from a win in South Alabama earlier this season.
The Jaguars scored 14 points in the second half and shut out the Monarchs after halftime. South Alabama even drew 20 points on a 30-yard pass from Carter Bradley to Jalen Wayne late in the third quarter. The winner of the game was a 2-yard scoring throw from Bradley to DJ Thomas-Jones with 6:40 remaining.
Old Dominion appeared to get the touchdown with 2:40 left, but the game was nullified by a chop block penalty. The threat eventually ended with a fourth down sack from Jamie Sheriff.
South Alabama running back La’Damian Webb rushed for 74 yards with 18 carries. He has 1,016 yards on the season, becoming only the second runner in school history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. Tra Minter holds the school record for 1,057 rushing yards.
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