On a warm and wet night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, running back Jordan Chunn carried the ball 36 times for 176 yards as the Troy Trojans upended Southern Miss 37-31.
The game started well for Golden Eagle fans as Devontae Foster stepped in front of a Brandon Silvers pass and charged 68 yards down the right sideline to put USM ahead 7-0.
But, Silvers more than atoned for his misstep by leading Troy to 17 points in just three minutes to put Troy up 17-7 at the end of the first quarter.
With Southern Miss trailing 27-24 with 6:35 left in the third quarter, the Golden Eagles faced fourth-and-eight and lined up in punt formation. Punter Tyler Sarrazin took the snap and ran the ball to the left for what seemed to be a first down. However, after a lenghty official review, it was determined that Sarrazin's knee touched the ground before he reached the first down marker and the ball was turned over to Troy.
That’s when Chunn went to work to deliver the decisive blow. He carried the ball once through the middle behind a fullback and earned four yards. Then, Troy ran the same play again and Chunn broke through the middle, headed toward the right flag and outran Southern Miss defenders to put Troy up 34-24.
The Golden Eagles responded.
With 28 seconds remaining in the third, Mullens dipped for a play-action fake then hit Allenzae Staggers breaking straight ahead into the end zone to get Southern Miss back to within three.
Troy added a fourth quarter field goal to make the score 37-31.
Then, with 65 seconds remaining and a third-and-nine, Mullens hit Staggers for a first down to the USM 45. After an incompletion, Mullens handed the ball off to Ito Smith for a ten yard gain and a first down. Troy brought pressure and Mullens misfired. Mullens then ran for a first down at the Troy 44 before finding Staggers for a 25 yard gain to the Troy eight yard line with two seconds remaining.
Southern Miss called a time out and decided to send a receiver crossing the back of the end zone but Mullens could not connect.
Both teams now have two wins and one loss, but it is Troy that the analysts will be following closely since the Trojans nearly knocked off Clemson last week week and now have upset Southern Miss, the 25th-ranked team going into this week, according to AC index (aciventura.com).
Mullens was 24/52 for 263 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. However, the Southern Miss quarterback seemed stymied by Troy’s defensive movement and coverages.
Smith carried the ball 20 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns for Southern Mississippi while Staggers had five receptions for 98 yards and one score.
Silvers was only 10/27 and 123 yards, but three of his ten completions went for touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
Troy is at home to face Idaho next Saturday while Southern Miss travels will travel to UTEP to begin conference play.