TROY, Ala. – In the press box after Troy's miraculous 34-33 win over South Alabama, one reporter said "He's 6-1? He plays a lot bigger than 6-1."
Fortunately for Troy, offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield and quarterback Corey Robinson discovered that a long time ago, which may be the reason the plan was to throw to no one but Eric Thomas with seven seconds remaining and the game on the line against the Jaguars.
"There have been several times over the last four years where I've thrown a ball and thought he had no shot at catching it. Next thing you know, he's got it and running for a touchdown," Robinson said.
In fact, Robinson and Thomas have hooked up for touchdowns 21 times since the two started their careers in 2010. Thomas has caught five scoring passes from Deon Anthony and owns the Sun Belt Conference record for career touchdown receptions with 26.
While Saturday's grab ranks near the top of Robinson all-time list of memorable plays, the touchdown pass to Thomas that he'll remember the most came in 2010.
With the Trojans leading 17-14 in the second quarter against North Texas, Robinson stepped up in the pocket a fired a high dart to Thomas, who was positioned three yards deep in the center of the end zone. Thomas out-jumped three Mean Green defenders and made a one-handed grab to extend Troy's lead and help guide the Trojans to a victory. It was Thomas' only touchdown catch of the season.
"It was a great catch," Robinson said. "We were both freshman and for him to make a play like that was special, I'll never forget it."
Robinson went on to say that having Thomas on the field gives the offense a chance to score on any play.
"I've seen him make plays in the end zone and I've seen him make plays in open space," Robinson said. "When you've got a guy like Eric, it makes things a lot easier sometimes."
Thomas has made numerous highlight-reel catches in his career and has turned in several great overall performances but has never been garnered a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award until this week. That doesn't change much for the Louisiana native, though.
"It's been the same as any other week," he said. "I've had people come up to me and tell me what a great catch it was [against USA] but it's really just been the same."
Though not the tallest or the largest, Eric Thomas is definitely the big man on campus this week.