Mistakes prove costly in Troy’s season opener loss at Boise State

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Boise State Broncos came out on top of Saturday’s season opener, downing Troy 24-13 at Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho.

The Trojans (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) fell victim to costly mistakes, allowing the Broncos to capitalize and escape week one.

The first-ever meeting between the two Group of Five schools had hardly begun when the Broncos’ Avery Williams took a Troy punt all the way back for a score. The 81-yard return put the Broncos up 7-0 after just 1:34 of play, a lead that they refused to give up for the rest of the game.

Troy’s subsequent drive had the Bronco defense backed up inside the red zone, but the Trojans were unable to capitalize. Troy settled for a field goal, and Bratcher Underwood’s 38-yard attempt put the visitors on the board.

The two squads traded scores before halftime when Boise State’s Alex Mattison broke off a 49-yard run to cushion the Broncos’ lead, 14-3. After Troy’s offense was unable to answer, junior cornerback Blace Brown came up with one of the highlight plays of the game for Troy. Brown intercepted Brett Rypien’s pass and returned it 53 yards for the score to get Troy back in the game.

After halftime, Troy had its best chance to even the score after senior quarterback Brandon Silvers and crew pieced together a 16-play drive to get inside the red zone. A pass by Silvers was deflected by a defender but brought down by Deondre Douglas just outside the left pylon.

The officiating crew on the field ruled the play a touchdown, but after a closer look, Douglas was ruled to have fumbled the ball to the right of the pylon and through the back of the end zone, resulting in a turnover and a touchback.

Silvers finished the game with 139 yards, completing 17 of 33 passes with one interception. Senior running back Jordan Chunn also contributed 41 yards on 11 touches to Troy’s 215 yards of total offense, the lowest in the era of Head Coach Neal Brown. Despite a relatively quiet afternoon for Chunn, he advanced to eighth place on Troy’s all-time rushing list with 2,387 yards.

“To come in this venue and play this team that has one of the best home records in the nation since 2000 and to have a four-point game with about six minutes to go means we have a chance (to be good this season),” said Coach Brown, following the game.

The Trojans kept chipping away at the lead as Underwood sent another kick through the uprights to bring Troy within four with just under 11 minutes left to play. The Trojan defense came up with a critical stop on the ensuing Bronco drive, holding Boise on a fourth-and-one attempt to keep the game alive.

It was short-lived, as Silvers was intercepted on the opening play of the drive. Boise State then proceeded to march 49 yards down the field to take a 24-13 lead, the eventual final score.

Following the loss, Troy looks ahead to its home opener in Veterans Memorial Stadium against Alabama State this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., and the game will be aired on ESPN3.

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