Troy tops North Texas 50-30, rolls to second consecutive bowl win

Joshua Thurston photo

In just his third season as Troy’s head coach, Neal Brown and the Trojans won their second straight bowl game, defeating North Texas 50-30 on Saturday in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

On the first day of the college football bowl season, the Troy Trojans rolled to a 50-30 victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl over North Texas on Saturday to win the program’s second straight bowl game and finish the season with an 11-2 record.

With the win, the Trojans reached their highest single-season win total since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2001. Furthermore, Troy’s win in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome marked the third straight season under third-year Head Coach Neal Brown that the Trojans improved on their previous season’s record.

Defensively, the Trojans gave up their claim to being the only team in the nation to have not given up more than 25 points in a game this season, but instead forced five turnovers and held the Mean Green to -8 yards rushing and 295 total yards of offense.

Troy was also able to keep the Conference-USA Offensive Player of the Year Mason Fine in check, holding him to 303 yards passing and intercepting him twice. The Trojans also sacked Fine six times for a total loss of 59 yards, and held the dynamic quarterback and his offense to five of 17 conversions on third down.

Those sacks were part of 11 tackles for loss by Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning’s squad, which brought the Trojans’ TFL total to a school-record 112 this season. Troy’s previous single-season record was 106.

Offensively, the Trojans scored at least 50 points for the second time in the team’s last three games.

Despite dealing with injuries to its top two wide receivers in Deondre Douglas and Emmanuel Thompson, the Trojan offense enjoyed productive performances from senior quarterback Brandon Silvers, junior wide receiver Damion Willis and senior running back Josh Anderson.

Willis was Silvers’ favorite target throughout the game, connecting with him 11 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns. All that was part of 24 of 31 completed passes for Silvers, which was good for 305 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Behind Willis in receiving yards was another senior, Tevaris McCormick, who caught five passes for 107 yards and one TD.

On the ground, Troy was led by Anderson, who carried the ball 22 times for 113 yards. It was his first career game with over 100 yards rushing, and came after it became clear that starter Jordan Chunn would not play due to injury.

With the exception of faltering somewhat in the second quarter, the Trojans played a complete game offensively from start to finish. After going up 22-7 early in the second quarter, a Trojan a fumble return for a touchdown became the first of 13 straight points for North Texas to make the score 22-20 going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, however, Troy limited its mistakes, and used a rhythmic offense to outscore the Mean Green 28-10 in the second half.

With 11 wins under its belt, Troy will now move into the offseason, where it will lose 21 seniors. The next time the Trojans take the field will be at home against Boise State, when it will most likely be able to boast a brand-new scoreboard and north end zone project that will close in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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