Sep 3, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins (4) runs the ball during the first half against the Troy Trojans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Ole Miss grounds out win over Troy

Three Ole Miss players rushed for touchdowns and Zach Evans had 130 yards on the ground as the No. 21 Rebels defeated Troy 28-10 in the season opener for both teams Saturday at Oxford, Miss.

Evans, a transfer from TCU, didn’t find the end zone on any of his 20 carries, but Ulysses Bentley IV, Jonathan Mingo and Quinshon Judkins each had a 2-yard touchdown run and the Rebels defense shut down the Trojans.

USC transfer Jaxson Dart started at quarterback for the Rebels after a preseason battle with Luke Altmyer, though the identity of the starter wasn’t publicly known until Dart took the field. He completed 18 of 27 for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception and ran for 40 yards before Altmyer replaced him in the fourth quarter.

Redshirt junior Gunnar Watson, who was named the Trojans’ starter by first-year coach Jon Sumrall earlier this week, completed 34 of 47 for 275 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Sumrall, a former assistant at Troy and Kentucky, replaced Chip Lindsey, who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons, which included a 5-7 mark last season.

Ole Miss out-rushed Troy 266-60, though the Trojans possessed the ball for nearly 37 minutes.

Dart threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Mississippi State transfer Malik Heath to complete the first possession of the third quarter and give Ole Miss a 28-3 lead.

That lead held up through the end of the period after the Trojans reached the Rebels’ 26-yard line, but Watson lost a fumble when sacked on fourth and 6.

Watson came back to throw a 3-yard touchdown pass to RaJae’ Johnson on fourth and goal midway through the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

Evans’ 46-yard run led to Bentley rushing 2 yards for a touchdown that gave Ole Miss a 7-0 lead with 2:25 left in the first quarter.

Mingo’s touchdown run came early in the second quarter and Judkins’ score gave the Rebels a 21-0 lead midway through the period.

Brooks Buce’s 31-yard field goal as time expired trimmed the lead to 21-3 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Troy University quarterback Gunnar Watson (18) grasps the ball after the snap.

Troy Vs Eastern Kentucky

No. 21 Ole Miss unsettled as opener with Troy arrives

Ole Miss still hasn’t named a starting quarterback.

But Troy has.

The No. 21 Rebels are still searching for the successor to Matt Corral as they prepare to host the Trojans in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.

Corral helped lead Ole Miss to its first 10-win regular season in school history last season before moving on to the Carolina Panthers as a third-round draft choice.

The battle to start this season has been between USC transfer Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer, who was a backup as a freshman last season and replaced an injured Corral in the Rebels’ Sugar Bowl loss to Baylor in January.

Ole Miss finished preseason camp with a “mock game” but, when the Rebels entered game week, head coach Lane Kiffin still didn’t have a decision.

“We haven’t even discussed a timeline as coaches because no one has emerged at all,” Kiffin said.

Kiffin said that once he makes a decision he expects to stick with that player and not play both against the FCS Trojans, but added that was “not etched in stone.”

Ole Miss was one of the most active teams in the country in utilizing the transfer portal during the offseason.

The presence of so many transfers has made it challenging for Kiffin to anticipate what to expect from his third Rebels team.

“This one’s a wild card because we’ve just got so many new players,” Kiffin said. “It’s constant coaching every day because everything is new to them. Usually your new players are coming from high school and 90 percent of them aren’t going to play, but we’ve got guys starting where everything is a first for them.”

Troy first-year coach Jon Sumrall had a complex quarterback competition of his own, but on Monday he named redshirt junior Gunnar Watson to start against Ole Miss.

Watson, a part-time starter for the Tronas each of the last two seasons, competed with transfer Peter Costelli and true freshman Tucker Kilcrease before former Western Kentucky starter Jarret Doege was an 11th-hour addition through the transfer portal.

“There’s something about having been through the battle and been through the fire,” Sumrall said. “We’re going to roll out with Gunnar to start the game. Doesn’t mean other guys won’t play, but Gunnar’s earned the opportunity to lead this team into Game 1 as a starter.”

Kiffin said it’s “challenging” preparing to open a season against a team with a new coaching staff. Sumrall was a defensive assistant at Kentucky for the last three seasons.

Sumrall was an assistant at Troy for three consecutive winnings seasons under Neal Brown from 2015-17. He takes over a program that had a losing record each of the last three seasons, leading to Chip Lindsey’s firing.

“We have our work cut out for us but we’re excited for the opportunity,” Sumrall said of facing the Rebels. “We get to go play in a great environment against a really high quality opponent, a ranked opponent, and a team that has won a lot of games the last couple of years.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Jarret Doege (2) drops back to pass against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second half at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jarret Doege lands at Troy

Well-traveled quarterback Jarret Doege has landed at Troy, his fourth school overall and second in 2022.

Doege is listed on the school’s official roster along with six other quarterbacks. He reportedly practiced Thursday.

He left Western Kentucky earlier this week after joining the Hilltoppers as a graduate transfer.

Doege began his career at Bowling Green (2017-18) and played at West Virginia from 2019-21 before transferring to the Hilltoppers in January.

He has passed for 10,494 yards with 79 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in 46 career games.

Last season, he completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 3,048 yards, 19 TDs and 12 interceptions in 13 games for the Mountaineers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Troy Trojans head coach Chip Lindsey directs his team against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Troy fires coach Chip Lindsey after three campaigns

Troy fired coach Chip Lindsey on Sunday after three seasons at the helm of the program.

Lindsey went 15-19 with the Trojans. Troy is 5-6 this season entering Saturday’s season finale against Georgia State.

The move came one day after the Trojans were routed 45-7 by visiting Appalachian State.

“I appreciate Coach Lindsey’s hard work over these last three years,” athletic director Brent Jones said in a news release. “However, after significant review, a change in leadership is needed. I met with Coach Lindsey this afternoon and informed him that we would be making a change effective immediately.

“Our expectation for our football program is to compete for championships, and that resolve has not wavered. A full national search will begin immediately for the next head coach of our storied program.”

Defensive coordinator Brandon Hall will serve as interim coach.

Lindsey took over a program that won 10 or more games in three straight seasons (2016-18). However, he was never able to lead Troy to more than five victories.

“Ultimately, we fell short of our goal of producing a championship-winning team,” Lindsey said in the news release. “I am grateful to the administration at Troy for giving me this opportunity to serve as head coach. Thank you to our players for giving their all, day in and day out. I am proud to have been your coach, and I am grateful for the relationships we forged that will last a lifetime.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh (6) catches a pass against Troy Trojans safety Dell Pettus (31) during the first half at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Grayson McCall guides No. 24 Coastal Carolina past Troy

Grayson McCall threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 24 Coastal Carolina pulled out a 35-28 victory against Troy on Thursday in Conway, S.C., bouncing back from its first loss of the season eight nights earlier.

The Chanticleers (7-1, 3-1 Sun Belt Conference) received two rushing touchdowns from Shermari Jones.

McCall completed 14 of 26 passes for 294 yards with an interception. Jones ran for 95 yards on 14 carries.

The Chanticleers fell 30-27 at Appalachian State last week, losing control of their own destiny in the conference’s East Division.

Quarterback Gunnar Watson threw three touchdown passes for Troy (4-4, 2-2), which arrived on a two-game winning streak. He was 17-for-30 for 225 yards. Teammate Kimani Vidal ran for 142 yards and a score on 22 attempts.

Coastal Carolina took its second 14-point lead of the game after the midway mark of the third quarter when Jones ran for a 4-yard touchdown.

Troy responded with a 10-play, 74-yard drive that was capped by Vidal’s 5-yard run.

Jones’ 54-yard touchdown run made it a two-possession game again early in the fourth quarte.

The Trojans, who punted on their two previous possessions, struck again on Watson’s 18-yard pass play to Tez Johnson with 4:52 to play.

Aided by a fourth-down conversion, Coastal Carolina kept the ball until giving possession back to Troy on a punt with 25 seconds to play.

On the next play, Watson was sacked by Josaiah Stewart and fumbled the ball, with the Chanticleers’ Jeffrey Gunter recovering to seal the win.

McCall got Coastal Carolina on the board with a 2-yard run late in the first quarter. His two second-quarter touchdowns throws went for 66 yards to Jaivon Heiligh and for 71 yards to Braydon Bennett.

Heiligh finished with five catches for 116 yards.

Watson responded for the Trojans with a 42-yard scoring pass to Jabre Barber later in the second quarter.

The Chanticleers moved into Troy territory with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, but McCall was intercepted by Reddy Steward.

Troy opened the scoring on Watson’s 11-yard pass to Deyunkrea Lewis.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Josh Vann (6) runs after the catch against the Troy Trojans in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Parker White’s third field goal seals win for South Carolina

Parker White kicked three field goals, the last from 37 yards with 2:20 left in the game, to secure South Carolina’s 23-14 victory over visiting Troy on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

White’s final kick came after Juju McDowell’s 13-yard, third-down run to the 19-yard line had made up for a block-in-the-back penalty that had moved the Gamecocks back to the 32.

Damani Staley’s interception with 47 seconds left, his second of the season and ninth for the Gamecocks in five games, sealed it for South Carolina.

Luke Doty completed 20 of 34 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown for the Gamecocks (3-2). Jaylan Foster had a big day on defense with 12 tackles that included a sack and two forced fumbles.

B.J. Smith rushed for 103 yards a touchdown and Taylor Powell completed 19 of 34 passes for 136 yards for the Trojans (2-3). He was intercepted twice.

In a wild sequence of events at the start of the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks lost a touchdown when Jahmar Brown tossed the football in the air before crossing the goal line while returning a Troy fumble 61 yards, giving the Trojans the ball back on the resulting touchback.

The Trojans were forced to punt on the ensuing series, however, and the next two possessions ended with the teams exchanging fumbles.

The outcome of the chaos was the Gamecocks gaining possession at their 28-yard line with 8:17 left, setting up the decisive drive.

Earlier, the game seemed to take a major swing late in the first half when David Spaulding’s interception halted a Trojan drive deep in South Carolina territory and his 74-yard return for a touchdown put the Gamecocks up 17-7 at the halftime break.

The Trojans responded by marching 75 yards to open the second half with Jamontez Woods scoring after Powell’s 22-yard completion to A.J. Lewis and a targeting call put the ball at South Carolina’s 1-yard line.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Luke Doty (4) scrambles against the Kentucky Wildcats in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina QB Luke Doty expected to start vs. Troy

The South Carolina and Troy football teams are each coming off stinging losses entering their game Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

While the Trojans (2-2) were upset on the road, the Gamecocks (2-2) dropped a winnable home contest against Southeastern Conference East rival Kentucky. South Carolina committed a barrage of errors in its 16-10 setback.

A pair of late-game fourth-down failures were particularly painful. Overall, South Carolina finished 0-for-3 on fourth down, and just 3-for-12 on third down.

“We’ve got to continue to get better each and every week,” South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer said. “I’m not happy with the performance Saturday night against Kentucky, at all … in all three phases. And coaching certainly has to be better.”

The Gamecocks likely will roll with sophomore Luke Doty at quarterback. Per Beamer, wide receiver Xavier Legette should be available Saturday, while defensive back Carlins Platel was limited in practice Tuesday.

Doty has completed 30 of 51 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns with an interception this season.

“I’m glad (Doty) is out there battling and is as tough as he is,” Beamer said.

Meanwhile, Troy is trying to move past its 29-16 loss at Louisiana-Monroe, its first setback in that series since 2014. The Trojans had previously recorded two double-digit wins and a 21-13 loss to Liberty to start the season.

Troy was penalized 10 times for 90 yards and had an interception run back 96 yards for a touchdown in the loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

“We were very undisciplined … which is something I’m very disappointed in,” Troy head coach Chip Lindsey told the team website. “We typically are really good with penalties and turnovers and things … we were a very undisciplined football team and that’s obviously my responsibility and something we’ve got to go to work to fix quickly.”

Troy is accustomed to outpassing its opponents, with an average advantage of 269.2 passing yards compared to 146.8 passing yards allowed, 10th best in the nation. Taylor Powell is completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,008 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2020; Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA; Troy Trojans running back B.J. Smith (26) runs for a first down during the first half against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Floyd Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Troy-Louisiana Monroe II canceled due to COVID-19

Troy’s game with Louisiana-Monroe scheduled for Thursday night has been called for the second and final time, due to the Warhawks not having enough players available to play.

The two were originally scheduled to play on Sept. 5 but that game was postponed due to nine positive tests for the coronavirus within ULM’s program.

Troy finishes the season with a record of 5-6, and 3-4 in the Sun Belt.

“We are extremely disappointed in the news that ULM will not have enough players available to play Thursday’s game,” Troy director of athletics Brent Jones said. “I am very appreciative to ULM Athletics Director Scott McDonald and Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill for their open lines of communication in this process. My heart hurts for our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have worked tirelessly since they returned to campus in June with the intention of playing a full 12-game schedule.”

ULM finishes winless at 0-10, including an 0-7 conference mark.

“The combination of positive COVID tests, contact tracing and injuries made it impossible to safely play the season finale at Troy,” McDonald said. “Our No. 1 priority throughout this uniquely challenging season has been maintaining a safe environment for our student-athletes.

“I’m disappointed for the senior student-athletes from both schools, who won’t have the opportunity to close out their careers in the appropriate manner.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall (10) throws a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Coastal Carolina looks to remain unbeaten vs. Troy

The big stage has been good for Coastal Carolina.

The No. 13 Chanticleers are looking to back up the program’s most significant victory as they return to Sun Belt Conference competition Saturday at Troy.

“Everybody in the country knows who Coastal Carolina University is now,” Coastal Carolina offensive lineman Trey Carter said. “We knew we had an opportunity to show what we had, and we did that.”

Coastal Carolina will be the highest ranked team to ever visit Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Ala.

The Chanticleers (10-0, 7-0 Sun Belt) complete the regular season with this game before heading home for next week’s Sun Belt championship game against No. 19 Louisiana (9-1).

“It’s crazy, but we worked hard to get there,” Carter said. “It has been a long, hard process. A lot of trials and tribulations, but we’re blessed to be in this position.”

Coastal Carolina burst onto the national scene in a bigger way with Saturday’s thrilling 22-17 victory against then-No. 13 BYU in a matchup of undefeated teams.

“We feel we can play with anybody in the country, and we proved that,” Coastal Carolina defensive end Jeffrey Gunter said.

Troy (5-5, 3-3) has a pair of home games remaining. The Trojans are coming off a 29-0 thumping of host South Alabama in an in-state rivalry, but this looms as a bigger opportunity to turn heads.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, and I know our guys are extremely excited to play these guys at home,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. “We’ll need to play really well in three phases.”

This is the third year in a row that Troy has played host to a ranked opponent.

The Chanticleers have won 11 consecutive games overall. They’re the only team in Sun Belt Conference history to hold a 10-0 record.

Quarterback Grayson McCall, who has thrown for 1,832 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, has been among the Chanticleers’ breakthrough players.

“Grayson don’t play like a (redshirt) freshman,” Carter said. “Grayson plays like a fifth-year senior. “He goes out there, takes charge. He’s running the show when he’s out there.”

Running back CJ Marable of Coastal Carolina has posted more than 100 rushing yards the past two games along with a team-high 16 touchdowns. He has scored in the past nine games.

While there are numerous Sun Belt results to compare the teams, there’s also another common opponent. Troy faced Brigham Young in September, losing 48-7 in Utah.

Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson went 35 of 41 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns against South Alabama. The team has compiled more than 400 yards in six games this season.

Coastal Carolina provided a dramatic finishing touch against BYU. Troy’s second halves have been sprinkled with disappointments as the Trojans have led at halftime in seven games.

The Coastal Carolina-Troy game was rescheduled from mid-November, with the postponement stemming from coronavirus protocols at Troy.

This will be the fourth meeting between the teams. Coastal Carolina’s lone victory came 36-35 on Marable’s two-point conversion run with 30 seconds remaining last year at home. That outcome marked the fewest points Troy has scored in the series.

–Field Level Media

Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;   Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Miami’s Diaz, Tennessee AD Fulmer test positive for COVID-19

Miami football coach Manny Diaz, Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer and Troy coach Chip Lindsey all confirmed Friday they tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Diaz, 46, tweeted. “I am currently in isolation and feeling good overall. I will continue to work with our team virtually as we prepare for our next game at Wake Forest.”

The 70-year-old Fulmer issued a similar statement.

“Yesterday, I learned that I had returned a positive test for COVID-19, and I immediately began following our isolation protocol,” the statement read. “A second test confirmed the previous positive. I remain asymptomatic at this point, I am feeling fine and will continue to work remotely while adhering to CDC and local health department guidelines. I have not been deemed to be a close contact with any of our student-athletes or sport-specific staff members.”

The positive test for Diaz is the latest coronavirus-related blow for the No. 12 Hurricanes, who haven’t played a game since Nov. 14 because of an outbreak to hit the team. This Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech was rescheduled tentatively to Dec. 19, and Miami (7-1) isn’t slated to play again until Dec. 5 at Wake Forest.

Fullmer has been athletic director at Tennessee since Dec. 1, 2017. He coached the Volunteers football team from 1992-2008 and compiled a 152-52 record. They won the BCS National Championship in 1998.

Tennessee (2-4) is scheduled to play at Auburn on Saturday.

Lindsey, 46, won’t be on the sidelines for Troy when it hosts Middle Tennessee State on Saturday. Special teams coach Brian Blackmon will coach the team.

The school said in a news release that Lindsey is experiencing “very mild symptoms” and is in self-isolation. The former offensive coordinator at Auburn, he is in his second season as head coach at Troy (4-3, 2-2 Sun Belt).

“While this is a situation that we had hoped we wouldn’t have to account for this season, it is something that we’ve had a comprehensive plan in place for since the start of preseason camp,” Lindsey said. “We have great leadership on our team, and we have already overcome a lot of adversity to get to this point of the season. I have the utmost confidence in our players and staff that they will navigate the coming days without skipping a beat.”

Troy’s game against Coastal Carolina last week was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Trojans. That game was rescheduled to Dec. 12.

–Field Level Media