For the second time in as many a year, Troy walked into a packed Power Five stadium and walked out with a victory.
Last year, it was a ranked LSU team that was stunned in Death Valley. This year’s victim was Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Neal Brown’s knack for winning the big game goes back to 2016, when the Trojans defeated Appalachian State at home 28-24 to secure a spot in the AP top 25. Troy became the first team in Sun Belt history earn the honor.
While the Appalachian State and LSU games were big wins for the program, both have something in common that served as a roadblock in back to back seasons.
It was the game after.
Five days after Troy’s win over the Mountaineers, the Trojans were ran over by an Arkansas State team that was steamrolling through its conference schedule. Troy could only muster a field goal in the 35-3 loss.
Fast forward a year and Troy is the talk of college football, relishing the spotlight following the upset in Death Valley.
Troy had 10 days to soak it in and prepare for its next challenge, a Wednesday home showdown with rival South Alabama.
The Jaguars were just 1-4 and had lost six road games in a row before they arrived in Troy, yet they held the Trojans to just one score in a 19-8 win.
This year, Troy is following up its big victory with a conference road date with Louisiana-Monroe.
While the “Game After” has been a thorn in Head Coach Neal Brown’s side, he uses past experiences as a learning tool.
“We’re better prepared from a football program, athletic department standpoint to handle success now than we were a year ago,” Brown said during Monday’s press conference. “I probably went too far overboard as far as trying to prevent what happened.”
From a statistical perspective, it hasn’t gotten much worse offensively for Troy under Brown. The three points scored against Arkansas State is the lowest the Trojans have scored in a conference game since 2015.
The second lowest? The eight points scored against South Alabama.
There are a couple of differences this time around, though. The two previous games came during the week and were at home.
This year, Troy is on the road and playing on a Saturday. This allows Brown and his staff to go through the weekly schedule as they normally would.
A loss won’t necessarily mean another let down, though, depending on how Troy plays. The Warhawks are a formidable opponent, and Troy hasn’t won in Monroe since 2001.