OVERWHELMED: Troy gives up too many big plays in first half, falls to Mississippi State Bulldogs 45-17
Published 3:30 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Despite a rally in the second half, the Troy Trojans couldn’t overcome the mistakes of the first half on Saturday, losing 45-17 to the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
After the Trojans were outscored 38-0 in the first half, they came out and played a much more controlled second half and outscored the favored Bulldogs 17-0.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the way we performed in the first half,” said Trojans head coach Neal Brown. “I don’t think we competed at a high enough level. We got overwhelmed in some aspects. We got overwhelmed with their defensive front and with their speed on special teams, reasonably so.”
Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the Trojans in the opening half. Before the game was 21 minutes old, the Trojans had already found themselves down 21-0 to the Bulldogs on an offensive touchdown, defensive touchdown and a special teams touchdown.
Fred Ross took a screen pass by Dak Prescott for a 59-yard touchdown just 36 seconds into the game to give Mississippi State the early 7-0 lead.
On Troy’s next possession quarterback Brandon Silvers was sacked near his own goal line and fumbled the football. Nelson Adams recovered the ball in the end zone to extend the Bulldogs lead to 14-0.
Fred Ross struck again later in the first quarter when he returned a Ryan Kay punt for 77-yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs.
The luck didn’t get much better for the Trojans in the second quarter. Silvers was knocked down sending his helmet flying off. Silvers never returned to game and suffered an upper-body injury.
The Bulldogs kept the gas pedal down in the second quarter and entered the locker room with a 38-0 lead.
Third-string quarterback Dontreal Pruitt led the Trojans to a second-half rally.
Pruitt capped off a 15-play 77-yard drive in the third quarter when he kept the ball and ran it in from five yards to put the Trojans on the board.
Brandon Burks rushed for a second-half touchdown from 74-yards, the longest Troy run since 2007. Troy closed out their scoring with a 21-yard field goal by Jed Solomon.
The story for most of the game was the Trojan defense. The Trojan defense held the Bulldogs offense to just 86 yards in the second half, while the offense picked up 223 after only gaining 31 in the first half.
“I’m extremely proud of how our team competed in the second half,” Brown said. “I know some of you probably didn’t take note of that. I could tell by reading some of the stuff, but we did. We competed very hard in the second half. We challenged them at the half to come out and compete; to play the way we are supposed to play, the way they have been trained today. They stepped up. That gives me hope moving forward and I really hope looking back that is going to be a pivotal moment in our season and in our program.”
Something to look at moving forward is the quarterback situation between Silvers and Pruitt. Silvers will be a game-time decision this Saturday against Idaho, Pruitt will be the next man up having passed Dallas Tidwell on the depth chart.
Pruitt finished the game 12-17 passing for 90 yards. He also rushed for 56-yards with a touchdown.
“Silvers is probably going to be a game-time decision. He’s improving; we won’t know anything for sure until Saturday,” Brown said. “I Have confidence in Dontreal Pruitt. I was pleased with how he came in and performed, and I think in a tough situation because our backup quarterbacks don’t get a ton of reps in practice, limited reps in the game plan.”
Troy will be back home for homecoming Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Idaho Vandals to into Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The game will be a rematch from last years game when the Trojans defeated the Vandals 34-17.
Game time between the Trojans and the Vandals is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.