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Carlton Martial’s record-setting night was a big reason that Troy was able to pull out a gritty, come-from-behind 10-9 victory over visiting Army at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Martial had 22 tackles against Army’s option attack. On his 20th tackle, the 5-foot-9, 210-pound former walk-on from Mobile became the NCAA’s all-time leader in tackles. That tackle gave him 546 career tackles, which is one more than Northwestern’s Tim McGarigle.
“It’s crazy to think about, but it hasn’t really soaked in yet,” said Martial, who is in his sixth college season. “I’m at loss for words. I’m proud of my team. I didn’t come back to break this record. I came back for my teammates. Honestly, it’s really a team effort. We were 11 guys on the same page.”
They needed to be on the same page to hold the Army offense to no points in the second half. In the first half, though, it was Troy being shut out.
“You got to credit Army West Point the way they ran the football in the first half,” said Troy head coach Jon Sumrall. “Time of possession, I think was like 24 to 6, in the first half. It was atrocious. We couldn’t get off the field, we couldn’t create rhythm offensively. But I am really proud of the way our guys responded.”
Army had a 9-0 halftime lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyhier Tyler and a 26-yard field goal by Quinn Maretzki. The extra point attempt failed after the touchdown.
Troy got its first points on a 21-yard field goal by Brooks Buice with 10:06 left in the third quarter. But, it was frustrating for the Trojans to settle for three points after having a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line.
The Trojans had a chance to score early in the fourth quarter, but Gunnar Watson was intercepted in the end zone on a series that Troy had first-and-goal from the 9-yard line. After a defensive stop, Troy took over at the Trojans 43-yard line with 11:29 remaining. Kimani Vidal began the drive with a 21-yard run and Watson found Deshon Stoudemire for a 20-yard gain to put the Trojans at the 16-yard line. Vidal’s 11-yard run set up a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
Troy finally scored on a 3-yard pass from Watson to Tez Johnson on fourth down with 8:04 remaining. After the teams traded possessions, Army had one final shot. Army took over at its own 28-yard line with 2:10 remaining. Eight plays later, Maretzki attempted a 42-yard field goal but missed with 15 seconds on the clock.
Troy (8-2 overall, 5-1 Sun Belt Conference) moves back into conference play next week with a visit from Louisiana-Monroe. The Trojans are closing in on a SBC West title and a spot in the conference championship game.
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