TROY – It was a good day for Troy kickers during the Trojans season-opening victory against Campbell on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Junior Tyler Sumpter nailed a 27-yard field goal on the first drive of the game and booted through a 25-yarder late in the first half to push the lead to 20-7.
The second field goal tied Sumpter with Sam Glusman (2008-2009) for eighth place on Troy’s all-time list with 27 career field goals.
Sumpter did miss a 47-yarder on the final play of the first half. Sumpter also had a 56-yard punt.
It was also a good day for the debut of freshman kickoff specialist Jack Martin, a product of Northview. Martin’s first three kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks. His fourth was short of the goal line and returned 17 yards. The fifth was fair caught after a 61-yard kick.
Ironically, he wore No. 43, which was the jersey number of former Houston Academy standout and Troy kickoff specialist Bratcher Underwood, who was a senior last season.
Air raid: Quarterback Kaleb Barker found Reggie Todd streaking wide open down the middle of the field in catching a 61-yard TD pass early in the first quarter. It was the longest pass of Barker’s career at Troy.
In the final minute of the opening quarter, Barker connected with Luke Whittemore for a 10-yard touchdown strike. It marked the fourth multi-touchdown passing game in Barker’s career with the Trojans.
On the run: It didn’t take B.J. Smith long to get it rolling. On the second play of the game, Smith found a hole up the middle and rushed for 41 yards. Smith, the Sun Belt preseason pick for Offensive Player of the Year, had a 24-yard TD run in the third quarter, which was the 16th score of his career and tied him for 10th place all-time at Troy.
Zacc attack: Former G.W. Long standout and current Troy fullback Zacc Weldon, a senior fullback, started his 40th straight game for the Trojans.
Early miscue: The Trojans’ Reggie Todd fumbled a 45-yard punt midway through the first quarter that led to a 16-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing play for Campbell. Todd is a junior college transfer receiver from Hinds (Miss.) Community College.
Lightning delay: Just before the start of the second quarter, at 5:51 p.m., play was halted due to a lightning delay and fans scattered for the exits. Play resumed at 7:05 with Troy leading 17-7.
New stuff: There have been many upgrades to Veterans Memorial Stadium this season in addition to the new playing surface that was installed over the summer.
Four misting fans are located throughout the concourses to provide cooling stations. A state-of-the art sound system has been recalibrated to enhance the game day experience. The reserved seats in the stadium have been updated with new seat numbers.
There are some new premium food offerings throughout the stadium. For those with a thirst for an adult beverage, fans seating in the North End Zone can choose from an updated beer menu.
And there is now more than one reason to cheer if the Trojans return an opening kickoff for a touchdown, either to begin the game or at the start of the second half. If it happens, a lucky fan will win a free Jeep Cherokee from Premier Dodge.