TROY – Troy junior linebacker Carlton Martial had an amazing game with 21 tackles, an interception, one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss, but that didn’t help take away the sting of a 42-38 loss to No. 11-ranked Coastal Carolina on Saturday.
“Those 21 tackles are great and all, but that means nothing to me if we don’t get the win,” Martial said. “That’s just how I feel about those 21 tackles.”
It was a career-high in tackles for Martial and his 13th game in double-digit for tackles. He’s averaging 12.7 tackles over the past seven games.
He moved into 11th place all-time in school history with 315 career tackles, in 20th place with 156 solos and fifth place with 159 career assisted tackles.
While Martial didn’t want to talk much about his performance, Troy senior center Dylan Bradshaw had plenty to say about his teammate.
“After making adjustments and the things we do, we get to peek and watch the defense,” Bradshaw said. “It (21 tackles) doesn’t surprise me. I play the guy every day. He’s hands down the most talented player I’ve ever played against in my life.
“The guy is one of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet. He has a great attitude, loves his teammates, loves the game of football.”
Staying prepared: Back-up quarterback Jacob Free, a former Brantley star, led the Trojans on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter in rallying to take the lead from Coastal Carolina before the Chanticleers won it in the final minute.
Free entered after Gunnar Watson was injured following an incomplete pass with the Trojans on their 1-yard line and less than eight minutes left in the game.
While Free threw an interception on that initial series, he did help the Trojans get in position to almost pull the upset with the two late TD drives.
“I’m been sitting there the whole entire game just watching and haven’t thrown since we came back out at halftime,” Free said of entering for Watson. “I saw him go down and I had a couple of seconds where I was shocked but at that point I knew I had to be ready and I had to go.
“Being the back-up guy, you never know when you might go in – it may be the first play or it might be the last. You’ve just got to be ready the whole time and when you’re number is called, you’ve got to go.”
For the game, Free completed 9 of 18 passes for 94 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Before Watson was injured, he completed 25 of 37 passes for 260 yards with a TD and interception.
Trick and treat: A little trickery proved beneficial for Troy on the kickoff after Coastal scored on its opening drive. Reggie Todd received the kick and then threw across the field to Kaylon Geiger, who raced down the left sidelines 61 yards all the way to the Coastal 25. However, the Trojans’ first drive would end following an interception at the 10.
Injury report: Sophomore strong safety Dell Pettus had to be helped off the field after what appeared to be a right leg injury in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Kicking it: Placekicker Evan Legassey had a fine day for the Trojans, making field goals of 42, 28 and 23 in the first half. He made all three extra-point kicks attempted. Punter Jack Martin, who also handles kickoffs, only had one punt on the day for 46 yards.
Good hands: Kaylon Geiger led the Troy receivers with nine catches for 103 yards and Reggie Todd followed with eight catches for 101 yards and a TD.