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Troy tramples Appalachian St. behind Kimani Vidal’s 5 TDs

Oct 14, 2023; West Point, New York, USA; Troy Trojans running back Kimani Vidal (28) runs with the ball against the Army Black Knights during the first half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Kimani Vidal scored five touchdowns and Troy pulled away with a pair of scores in a 6-second span of the fourth quarter to win the Sun Belt Championship Game, defeating visiting Appalachian State 49-23 on Saturday at Troy, Ala.

Vidal rushed for 233 yards on 26 carries.

The Trojans (11-2), who scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns, racked up their 10th win in a row. Troy has won eight Sun Belt Conference titles.

Vidal scored on TD runs of 6 and 49 yards in the final 4 1/2 minutes. Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson was 16-for-24 for 192 yards and a touchdown.

Kanye Roberts scored on two touchdown runs for Appalachian State (8-5), which had a five-game winning streak snapped. Joey Aguilar completed 28 of 39 passes for 275 yards.

Troy led 21-17 entering the fourth quarter, but Appalachian State had the ball.

Following a punt, the Trojans went 81 yards in 10 plays with Vidal carrying the ball on the final six snaps. He scored on a 2-yard run.

Appalachian State fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Don Callis returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly, it was 35-17.

The Mountaineers scored when Eli Wilson recovered Aguilar’s fumble in the end zone with 5:34 remaining, but they failed on a two-point conversion, cutting the lead to 35-23.

Earlier in the second half, Troy took the lead on a four-play, 75-yard drive midway through the third quarter. Watson threw 51 yards to Chris Lewis for the touchdown.

Appalachian State failed to move after recovering a fumble by Troy punt returner Jabre Barber. The Mountaineers settled for Michael Hughes’ 41-yard field goal, pulling within 21-17.

Troy led 14-0 after Vidal’s touchdown runs of 7 and 36 yards within a 2 1/2 -minute span in the second quarter.

Appalachian State responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive with Roberts scoring on a 1-yard run with 39 seconds left in the first half.

Then it was tied as the Mountaineers used 11 plays on the opening possession of the second half, marching 82 yards with Roberts scoring on a 6-yard run.

–Field Level Media

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