Troy outlasts Bowling Green in season opener

Published 12:44 am Sunday, September 5, 2010

A late field goal was all that separated the Troy Trojans from a win in the last game of the 2009 season.

A little over nine months later, it was a late field goal that helped the men of Troy to its first victory of the 2010 season.

In a game which saw both the Trojans and the Bowling Green Falcons take leads and lose leads, it was the home team that was the last standing when it was all said and done, thanks to a Michael Taylor 34-yard field goal with four seconds left on the clock to lift Troy to a 30-27 win.

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“I knew this was going to be a tough game,” head coach Larry Blakeney said.

“But I much rather come away with a ‘W’ than start the season off with a loss.”

The game-winning field goal was set up thanks to a key Falcon turnover with under two minutes remaining in the game.

After Taylor missed a 51-yard attempt earlier in the final quarter, the Bowling Green took over for its own shot at victory.

However, sophomore defensive lineman, Tony Davis, made sure that would not happen, intercepting a Matt Schilz pass and in the process, giving Troy the upper hand.

“You always hope the defense will make the stops in situations like that,” Blakeney said about the last Falcon drive.

“It was was a great play (by Davis). I was prepared for (Bowling Green) to go down and score. But this defense, when it was dead on the line, they rose up.

“It was a great play by the defense and one that I hope they use and learn from,” the coach added.

Before the late heroics, both teams fought back and fourth.

For Troy, there was a new face leading the offense at quarterback in redshirt freshman Corey Robinson.

Despite some first half turnovers, the signal caller showed why he was the final choice to lead the Trojans.

Robinson finished his first collegiate start throwing for 252 yards, one yard shy of tying Levi Brown’s record for most yards in a first start, on 25 of 37 passes, one of which was good for 38 yards and a touchdown to Jason Bruce.

“Games don’t get more exciting than that,” Robinson said after the game.

“We knew we had a chance to win when we got that turnover. That (interception) changed the momentum and we knew that if we gave Mikey a chance to win it, he would.

“This (game) shows what this team is made of. We got some good veterans who made some plays (Saturday) and we got some good new guys who made some plays as well.”

One of those veterans the young quarterback was referring to was senior wide receiver, Jerrel Jernigan.

And as he had before, the multipurpose Trojan was seen in many different spots on the field, in several key drives.

Under the Wildcat formation, Jernigan rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown, while adding on another 40 yards receiving off of six receptions.

“This was a big win for us,” he said. “We had some young guys who got a lot of good experience because of this game.”

As for his “other” position, the senior said he has as much fun with it as he does as being a receiver.

“It’s always fun (to run in the Wildcat),” he said. “I think the defense knows that I am going to run the football, so it’s always a challenge for me to try and find the space I need to move the football.

“I might get a chance to throw (the football) later on in the season though,” he said with a laugh.

It was not all laughs for the Trojans for much of the first half of the game, as the Falcons jumped out to two early leads in the first quarter.

Behind the arm of quarterback Schilz and the legs of running back Willie Geter, the Falcons were able to move the ball at will against the Troy defense.

The first score of the game took place when Geter ran 35-yards to the end zone.

Schilz would put his team on the score board again, thanks to a three-yard pitch and catch with wide receiver Adrian Hodges at the end of the quarter.

Sandwiched in between those two scores was Robinson’s touchdown pass to Bruce.

In the second quarter, both team exchanged field goals before a Shawn Southward one-yard touchdown run knotting things up at 17 apiece heading into the half.

Like the second quarter, the third quarter would finish with both teams tied again, after another pair of field goals and a Eugene Cooper punt return for a touchdown for the Falcons and 49-yard Jernigan rushing touchdown.

The only score in the final quarter came at the very end with Taylor’s final field goal.

“We got a lot of work to do still,” Blakeney said.

“A win is a win, but this game doesn’t matter anymore – it’s over with.

“Now it’s time to get the focus on next week,” the coach added.