Humbling startPublished 11:29pm Thursday, September 3, 2009
SPECIAL TO THE MESSENGER
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – After jumping out to an early 14-0 lead in the opening game of the 2009 season, the Troy Trojans never found their way back into the end zone and host Bowling Green chipped away at the lead before finally taking a 31-14 victory at Doyt Perry Stadium.
The Trojans managed just 41 rushing yards on the night and never found an answer for the combination of BG quarterback Tyler Sheehan to receiver Freddie Barnes. The duo hooked up a school record 15 times for 157 yards and two scores.
Bowling Green didn’t have much better success on the ground, totaling just 55 yards, but the Falcons threw for 339 against the Troy defense.
“The biggest thing for us tonight was that team across the field from us,” Trojans coach Larry Blakeney said. “They were well coached, disciplined and very determined to defend their home field. They deserve all of the credit.
“They had the book on us and played hard all night. Sooner or later you are going to have to make a play or make a yard, and we ran out of time to do that.”
The Trojans wasted no time on offense, using just seven plays to drive 80 yards for the opening score of the year. Brown connected on all four of his pass attempts on the drive, hitting four different receivers.
It was a 19-yard strike to freshman Josh Jarboe that put the Trojans in scoring position at the two yard line. Junior DuJuan Harris did the rest, powering into the end zone for the score. Senior Sam Glusman tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 Troy lead just 1:54 gone in the game.
After the teams traded punts, the Falcons made their first drive into Troy territory. BG completed a big fourth down pass to keep the drive alive but, on the next play, Sheehan was intercepted by redshirt freshman Bryan Willis to end the threat.
Troy pushed its lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter, putting together an 11-play drive that covered 89 yards. Brown connected with his favorite target, junior Jerrel Jernigan, for a 13-yard scoring strike with 9:29 left in the half. Glusman’s added the PAT for the 14 point lead.
Brown finished the game 28-for-44 with 263 yards along with the lone touchdown and two interceptions. Tebairus Gill lead all Troy receivers with eight catches for 102 yards. Jernigan finished with 37 yards on five receptions.
“I felt great out there, but we have to do better as a team,” Gill said. “We have to put this game behind us and focus on Florida next week. We have to practice every day like it is your last so that we can get better.”
The Trojans drove into BG territory late in the half but fell short when Harris was stopped for no gain on a fourth and one at the Falcons’ 17. The half ended with the Trojans holding a 14-7 lead.
Bowling Green evened the game late in the third quarter with another long drive. The Falcons covered 89 yards in 13 plays, capped by another TD pass from Sheehan to Barnes, this one a screen that covered eight yards with 3:49 left in the quarter.
Troy had possession when the fourth quarter started, but Brown underthrew Cornelius Williams on a deep out and was intercepted by Roger Williams.
The Falcons made Troy pay for the turnover, driving 53 yards in 10 plays before Jerry Phillips connected on a 21-yard field goal with 10:45 left, giving Bowling Green its first lead at 17-14.
Bowling Green put the game away after the Trojans failed to move the ball. The Falcons drove 49 yards on just four plays, capped by a one-yard run by Chris Bullock.
The Falcons tacked on a late interception return for a touchdown by Adrien Spencer. Spencer picked off a fourth down Trojans pass intended for Jarboe and raced for the final score of the game.
Boris Lee lead Troy with 10 tackles. Chris Bowens and Bryan Willis added seven stops apiece.
Troy is in action next on Saturday, September 12 when it travels to face the Florida Gators in Gainesville.