STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) Sawyer Smith hit Luke Whittemore on a 29-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to break open a close game and give Troy its 12th straight Sun Belt Conference win with a 35-21 victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday.

Troy (8-2, 6-0) was trailing 14-3 at the end of the first quarter, but the Trojans scored 32 unanswered points to go ahead 35-14 early in the final quarter. The victory pushes Troy closer to the inaugural Sun Belt Conference Championship game, with only Texas State and Appalachian State remaining on the schedule.

Georgia Southern (7-3, 4-2) had won five straight prior to dropping a 44-25 decision to Louisiana-Monroe last week.

Georgia Southern's Shai Werts hit Ellis Richardson on two straight short touchdown passes for a 14-3 lead before the Trojans charged back.

Smith threw for 287 yards on 21-of-28 passing. Sidney Davis hauled in 10 of those for 85 yards and Whittemore had three catches for 110 yards. B.J. Smith bulled in for two scores for the Trojans.

Werts threw for 153 yards and two scores and rushed for 39 yards and another TD.

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