The Troy football team fell to Duke 34-17 after giving up an early lead at home on Saturday, Sept. 6.
The game was the home opener this year for the Trojans (0-2, 0-0), and was the second game in a row that they have dropped after scoring on their opening drive.
The Blue Devils of the ACC (2-0, 0-0) started out slow in the first quarter, leaving Troy to dominate on all fronts. After a couple of unforced penalties from the Duke offense, the Trojan defense was able to get the redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone off the field quickly.
The ensuing drive for the Trojan offense, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Silvers, was successful. The Trojans marched down the field, and scored on a two-yard run from Silvers to go up 7-0.
The Devils looked to respond, and came close to scoring a touchdown on a gutsy call from Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. However, the Trojan defense stepped up early after a first and goal, and forced the offense to settle for a field goal with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
Duke was two of three on fourth down conversions, while Troy went zero for three.
The Trojan offense was able to grind it out on the ground and some through the air to get down to the Duke one-yard line. From there, it was all too easy for sophomore running back Jordan Chunn to punch it in, giving Troy a 14-3 lead early into the second quarter.
However, the lead fell apart fast as the Devils scored the next 21 points on each of their next three drives. The balanced attack of the Duke offense was too much for the Trojans to contain, as Boone rushed for a touchdown and threw for another. Boone finished the night with 268 yards passing and a touchdown, as well as 47 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
“We have to keep everybody focused and keep that same mentality from beginning to end,” said senior wide receiver Chandler Worthy. “I feel like when we come out, everybody has that high intensity, but as the game goes and they see people score and make bad plays, it kind of gets in their heads a bit. So, we have to keep it throughout the entire game.”
The second half was very different from the first. Duke controlled both sides of the ball for the last two quarters. Troy managed a field goal, but Duke was able to extend its lead with a touchdown run from Boone, as well as a field goal in the closing minutes of the game. The offense went stagnant and was unable to get opportunities like it had in the first quarter.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Troy head coach Larry Blakeney. “I just don’t know when the tunnel’s going to open up. Hopefully right away.”
Troy plays at home next Saturday, Sept. 13, when it faces Abilene Christian. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.