Offense struggles plague the Trojans as they lose 28-3 at Wisconsin

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy University football team was defeated 28-3 at No. 24 Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Trojans (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) gave the home team trouble with their defense, but the offense struggled to make progress against the top-25 powerhouse.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said head coach Neal Brown following the loss. “They’re obviously disappointed. Anytime you put that much time and effort into something like we do each week, the staff and the players — I want them to walk out of here with their chest out.”

The Badgers (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) drew first blood, as junior running back Dare Ogunbowale scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with 6:49 left in the first quarter. Ogunbowale rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries to go along with his touchdown.

The Trojans bounced back with a 12-play, 65-yard drive, looking to even the score. An offensive pass interference call on Troy halted the drive, and the Badgers held the visitors to a field goal.

The remainder of the game belonged to Wisconsin, however, as the Badgers scored 21 unanswered points to put the game out of Troy’s reach.

Senior quarterback Joel Stave pushed the lead to 14-3 on a four-yard touchdown run, ending a near quarter-long scoring drought from either side. Stave finished the night 13 for 17 passing, with 202 yards through the air, one rushing touchdown and a touchdown pass. The run came at 39 seconds left in the first half, as the Trojans were unable to keep the Badgers from the crucial score.

The run game of Wisconsin was the thorn in the Trojan’s side, as the Badgers racked up 199 yards on the ground, in comparison to Troy’s 88. While the Trojan defense proved relatively strong given the competition, the Big Ten powerhouse simply overwhelmed the defense with extended drives that took time off the clock and wore down the Trojans.

Senior safety Tanner McEvoy further widened the gap between the two teams, scoring a 32-yard rushing touchdown. Wisconsin closed out the scoring on a touchdown pass from Stave to senior tight end Austin Traylor for a one-yard score, making the score 28-3 with 5:07 left in the game.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers completed 23 of 34 passes for 174 yards and no interceptions.

“This is the best game we’ve played out of the three games,” Brown said. “I thought we had some chances to take the lead in the first half, but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities. I’m proud of the guys. We got beat by a better football team and we’re ready for this bye week.”

The Trojans will have time to clean up mistakes and tidy up both sides of the ball as they go into a bye week. Troy will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 3, when they welcome rival South Alabama to Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

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