Troy falls to South Alabama, 24-18

Published 7:11 pm Sunday, October 4, 2015

Troy had ample opportunities Saturday but dropped passes and crucial penalties brought a 24-18 win for South Alabama, giving the Jaguars the win in the inaugural Battle of the Belt.

Trojan quarterback Brandon Silvers threw three interceptions on the night and Troy had six drops that could have led to big plays if not touchdowns for the Trojans. Those mixed with big penalties by the Trojans were the key to the loss.

“We focused on two things going back to the start of January, first one was turnover margin and the second one was penalties,” said Trojan head coach Neal Brown. “We didn’t do either of those tonight. We had too many penalties, one of which took a touchdown off the board.”

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The Jaguars outgained the Trojans on offense 368 yards to 265 yards, and the lack of consistent offense hurt.

“We didn’t get anything done,” Brown said. “We were undisciplined, and it was the most disappointing performance offensively as I could remember. The lack of attention to detail was glaring, and I think that was the story of the game.”

The Trojans were coming off a bye week after a pretty good performance the week before against Wisconsin, so it was disappointing when Troy came out flat. South Alabama came off a loss last week.

“They had a bad week last week, but they came in here and looked hungry,” Brown said. “They played like they were coming off a bye week. I thought they played more disciplined than we did. I thought they deserved to win.”

The Jaguars and Trojans spent the first five minuets of the game feeling each other out. After spending most of the opening portion of the first quarter in Jaguar territory and not capitalizing, Troy gave the ball over the Jaguars on their own 20 yard line.

The Jaguars went 80 yards on nine plays ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by Xavier Johnson for the early lead.

After punting the ball away after their next possession, Troy was able to hold the Jaguars to a three-and-out.

During the Jaguar punt attempt the snap hit the up back and Troy scooped up the ball at the 11-yard line. Silvers connected with Emmanuel Thompson for a 6-yard touchdown. Troy elected to go for two and Brandon Burks walked in untouched, giving Troy an 8-7 lead.

South Alabama used a pass interference and late hit call on their next drive and marched down the field on an eight-play drive ending with a 17-yard catch by Gerald Everett, once again giving South the lead.

Troy began the second quarter deep in their own territory, and a interception gave the Jags the ball on the Troy 9-yard line. Everett scored his second touchdown of the night increasing the Jaguar lead to 21-8.

Troy’s offense came right back and with an important eight-play drive which included two runs by Silvers for 11 yards. Andre Flakes closed out the drive with a 20-yard TD run to cut the Jaguar lead to six.

The Jaguars had an opportunity to extend the lead heading into the half but the Trojan defense had other plans. With the Jaguars deep inside Trojan territory, quarterback Cody Clements threw a pass in the end zone that was intercepted by Terris Lewis.

With Troy trailing 21-15 in the second half, they had multiple opportunities to tie or even take the lead over the Jaguars but penalties and dropped passes set the Trojans back.

After South Alabama extended their lead to 24-15 the Trojans entered the fourth quarter with possession. A touchdown pass to Jarvis Bentley would have shrunk the Jaguar lead to 24-22 but was wiped a way after with an illegal man downfield penalty. Troy kicker Jed Soloman nailed a 33-yard field goal to bring Troy to within six points with 10:00 remaining.

Troy rallied again with 3:29 remaining. After starting on their 17-yard line the Trojans were able to drive the ball to nearly midfield before facing a key fourth down attempt. After taking a timeout Troy put the game on the line and gave the ball to their best running back. Burks came up just short on fourth and two sealing the win for the Jaguars.

With the loss the Trojans drop to 1-3 overall and drop to 0-1 in the conference. Burks led the Trojans in rushing with 103 yards on 26 carries. Silvers finished the game completing 16 of his 35 pass attempts for 146-yards and one touchdown. Senior Teddy Ruben hauled in five passes for 51-yards on the night.

Next week the Trojans travel to Starkville to play Mississippi State. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.