In Army’s fourth game of the season against a Sun Belt opponent, the Black Knights took a 10-9 road loss against the Troy Trojans on Veterans Day Weekend. With an attendance of 31,010, it was the largest audience in the history of Troy’s football program. It was also the first time that the two programs had ever faced off.
Troy senior linebacker Carlton Martial finished with 22 total tackles in this game, moving his career total past 546. Martial now holds the FBS career record for most total tackles.
A 5’9” native of Mobile, Alabama, Martial drew praise from both coaches postgame.
“Congratulations to him. He’s a terrific player. He’s well coached. That’s quite a feat,” Army head coach Jeff Monken said, following his team’s loss.
“Unbelievable young man, Troy head coach Jon Sumrall excitedly stated. “I had the privilege of recruiting him out of high school here when I was an assistant coach. I think everybody knows that. I knew he’d be a good player here, I didn’t know he’d be what he has become. I don’t think anybody knew that.”
Sumrall continued: “I’m so incredibly proud of him. He’s had enough people his whole life tell him you’re not this or you’re not that, but all he is is a tackling machine who plays the game the right way, who is a phenomenal teammate. I think he would tell you he does not care about the tackles record. He came back to go to a bowl game, pursue a conference championship, and do those sort of things.”
Troy Reaches Eight Wins For The Fourth Time Since 2010
Seven of Troy’s contests this year have been decided by one score. They’ve won six of said contests.
“Really proud of our guys for finding a way to win,” Sumrall remarked following the game. “I do not like the way we started the game. I would be a whole lot more pleased if we could start faster. That’s been sort of an issue the last couple of games, clearly. I’m also not going to apologize for winning a game. I think great teams just find ways to win. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball a lot tonight. Shot ourselves in the foot. Got to credit Army West Point for the way they controlled the first half by running the football...It was atrocious, we couldn’t get off of the field, couldn’t create rhythm offensively, but am really proud of the way our guys responded.”
Troy’s offensive production was markedly better in the second half compared to the first. The Trojans picked up 224 yards in the second half compared to forty in the first half.
Brooks Buce kicked a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter to finally get the Trojans on the board and they went ahead with 8:04 remaining in the game. Gunnar Watson connected with Tez Johnson on a three-yard touchdown pass at the end of an eight-play, 57-yard drive. Watson finished 15-of-31 for 192 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Army Falls to 3-6 With Three Games Remaining
Army drove to the Trojans’ 25-yard line on their last possession of the game, but missed the 42-yard field goal with 15 seconds left. The Black Knights also missed an extra-point attempt following their lone touchdown drive on their second possession.
Unfortunately for the Black Knights, they were largely inefficient on offense for the majority of the game. Their first possession ended in a turnover on downs. Following the aforementioned touchdown drive, the Black Knights’ drives in the first half ended in a punt, a lost fumble, and a made 26-yard field goal.
In the second half, the Black Knights did not find the end zone and missed their only other field goal attempt at the end of the game. The Black Knights went one for six on third down conversions in the second half and totaled just 125 yards in the second half.
Despite these facts, it was a strong defensive day for Army.
“Our guys played their hearts out,” Monken said postgame. “They played just as hard as they could. Our defense played fantastic. Obviously I’m disappointed with the way we played offensive football In the first with turning the ball over and in the second half not being able to move the ball.”
Saturday marked the fewest yards that Troy has accumulated this year on offense with 264. The Trojan offense converted one third down and one fourth down all day. When asked if these facts were any consolation for his team, Monken simply answered “no.”
With three games remaining, a bowl game is still within reach for Army, but they seem to realize that this can only be achieved by taking it one game at a time.