Surging Troy upsets No. 25 LSU 24-21 at Death Valley
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers basked in the scene of teammates cupping their hands around their ears to better hear the triumphant howls of several hundred traveling fans in a mostly empty, 102,000-seat Tiger Stadium.
Silvers was in the stands the last time Troy visited Death Valley in 2008, when LSU overcame a 31-3 second-half hole for the largest comeback in Tigers history. Memories of that game provided Silvers with particular satisfaction in being part of another Trojans squad that also took an early lead – and held on this time.
Jordan Chunn ran for 191 yards and a touchdown, Troy forced four turnovers and the surging Trojans upset the 25th-ranked Tigers 24-21 on Saturday night.
”Walking off that field man and seeing the fans in the stands who made the trip to be able to send them home with a win is fantastic,” said Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers, who was an efficient 16 of 28 for 157 yards without an interception.
”They were there for us and we got to be there for them tonight. This is a huge win for the program.”
Troy (4-1) became the first team from outside the Southeastern Conference to win at Death Valley since UAB in 2000. They snapped the Tigers’ streak of 49 straight home victories over non-league opponents.
Although the Tigers (3-2) were three-touchdown favorites, the result wasn’t entirely unfathomable. LSU had looked vulnerable in a tense victory over Syracuse a week earlier, while Troy came in on a three-game winning streak and is among the favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference after a 10-victory 2016 campaign.
”We did not look past Troy,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. ”This was about us. We did not play well.”
Troy raced to leads of 17-0 and 24-7 before Danny Etling’s fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 34 yards to Russell Gage and 20 yards to Foster Moreau got LSU as close as a field goal with 1:59 left. But after failing to recover an onside kick, LSU got the ball back on its own 11 with only 23 seconds left, and Troy sealed it with Blace Brown’s interception on the Troy 42 with 11 seconds left.
”At the end of the day, it was who wanted it more,” LSU linebacker Devin White said. ”You could tell they wanted it more.”
Troy: Since losing their opener to Boise State, the Trojans have been steadily progressing. A road win over a Power 5-conference team should infuse Troy with confidence heading into the meat of its Sun Belt schedule. Another bowl bid, if not another season with double-digit victories, looks within reach.
LSU: The Tigers will fall out of the AP Top 25 Poll this week and there’s no telling how rough this season could get with seven more SEC games on the schedule.
”I’ve got to do my best job ever right now,” Orgeron said. ”It’s not about pointing fingers.”
Entering the third quarter with a surprising 10-0 lead, Troy widened the gap. Chunn slipped a tackle near the line of scrimmage and broke loose for 74 yards, setting up his touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
”Man, I saw too many holes tonight. I had a lot of options,” Chunn said. ”The offensive line did a fantastic job.”
COMING UP SHORT
LSU didn’t score until backup quarterback Myles Brennan found Moreau for a 7-yard TD pass, making it 17-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Brennan marched LSU into Troy territory again, but was intercepted by Marcus Jones at the Troy 26. The Trojans then drove for Josh Anderson’s 7-yard TD run.
Top LSU running back Derrius Guice was in uniform but Orgeron said he was too hurt to play. Still Orgeron seemed surprised that third-string running back Nick Brossette got the ball on the first offensive play of the game. Brossette was stripped by safety Cedarious Rookard and fellow defensive back Kris Weatherspoon recovered at the Tigers 30. Five plays later, Silvers scored on a short keeper to make it 7-0.
Both teams missed field goals of about 35 yards in the second quarter, and it appeared the score would be 7-0 at halftime when receiver John Johnson was tackled at the LSU 20 as time ran out. But officials reviewed the play and determined there should be 2 seconds left. Troy capitalized with Evan Legassey’s 37-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Troy hosts South Alabama in a Wednesday night game on Oct. 11.
LSU travels to Florida for the first of seven straight games against SEC opponents to close the regular season.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Follow Brett Martel at www.twitter.com/brettmartel