Troy ranked in AP Top 25 – a first for the program

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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Coming off Sun Belt and Cure Bowl championships, Troy is ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll for the first time in program history as both polls were announced Tuesday following the CFP National Championship Game on Monday.

Owner of the nation’s second-longest winning streak at 11 games, Troy finished the season ranked No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Under first-year head coach Jon Sumrall, the Trojans posted a 12-2 overall record and finished the season with the most wins of any program in the state of Alabama.

“This was a special season for our program, and it starts and ends with our players,” Sumrall said. “They believed in our vision for what we wanted this program to be, and each of them bought in on a personal level and committed themselves to excellence. The 2022 Troy Football team will be remembered as one of the best teams in this program’s long and proud history for what our players and our staff accomplished together as a team. I could not be more proud of these young men and this team.”

Armed with one of the best defenses in the country, Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under than their season average in scoring, including three of the top 25 scoring teams in the country – UTSA, Western Kentucky and App State. The Trojans limited UTSA to just 10 offensive points in the Cure Bowl, with three of those 10 points coming on a 4-play, 7-yard drive following a turnover; the Roadrunners entered the game averaging 38.7 points per game.

The Trojans held eight of its 14 opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter and allowed an average of just 3.64 points in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Troy ranked eighth nationally in turnovers gained, 14th in sacks, eighth in scoring defense, 19th in total defense and 24th in rushing defense. Individually, Carlton Martial earned All-America honors for the fourth season after finishing third nationally, averaging 11.2 tackles per game and as the all-time leader in career tackles at the FBS level.

Offensively, Kimani Vidal became the 11th 1,000-yard rusher in program history while quarterback Gunnar Watson continued to move up the all-time leaders in program history. Starting center Jake Andrews was invited to the NFL Combine and will play in the Senior Bowl alongside Martial, while left tackle Austin Stidham was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy.

The Sun Belt Championship was Troy’s seventh since 2006, ranking as the sixth most in the country, behind Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Boise State. Troy’s 12 wins tied a program record for the most in a season and rank as the most by a Trojan team at the FBS level.