Trojans fall to Vandals on Homecoming

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, October 17, 2015

A missed 32-yard field goal attempt proved enough for the Idaho Vandals to edge past the Troy Trojans 19-16 on Saturday.

The Trojan offense struggled during Saturday’s homecoming game, capped by kicker Jed Soloman’s kick that bounced off the right upright late in the fourth quarter. The Trojans finished with just 381 yards on offense, while turning over the football four times on two fumbles and two interceptions.

“I want to apologize to our fans,” Trojan head coach Neal Brown said. “I thought in the first half we came out and played lethargic. We didn’t play very well on either side of the ball.”

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Both teams struggled with offense and consistent drives consistent drives started, ending the first quarter scoreless. In the second quarter, Troy ran one play and was forced to punt the ball away to the Vandals who went on an 11-play drive that culminated with a 34-yard field goal by Austin Rehkow.

The Vandals had another chance to get the ball in the end zone midway through the second quarter. Penalties killed the Vandals drive and Rehkow kicked another field goal from 31-yards out.

The teams entered halftime with the Vandals holding a slim 6-0 lead over the Trojans.

The Trojans only managed 108 yards of total offense in the first half against a team that has allowed 47 points per game and has allowed on average 542 yards per game.

The Trojans came out in the second half with a big 50-yard run by Brandon Burks. After Troy was able to get inside the five-yard line, Burks fumbled the football and the Vandals recovered on their own 2 yard line.

The Trojans defense held the Vandals to a three-and-out and forced a punt out of their own end zone. Teddy Ruben ran the punt back to the Vandal 31 yard line.

Jed Solomon closed out the drive with a 41-yard field goal to cut the Vandals lead to 6-3.

Turnovers again hurt the Trojans midway through the third quarter. With the Trojans on their own 22-yard line Dontreal Pruitt fumbled the football giving the Vandals possession on the Trojans 21 yard line. Backup quarterback Dallas Tidwell entered the game, replacing Pruitt. Both were playing in place of starter Brandon Silvers, who was injured last week.

The Vandals were able to capitalize on the Troy fumble when quarterback Jake Luton ran the ball into the end zone from four yards out to give Idaho a double-digit lead at 13-3.

The Trojans made it a game of field goals when Soloman converted on his second field goal of the game from 39 yards out to once again cut into the Vandals lead and brought the score to 16-6 with 14:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing kick off Troy attempted the onside kick and recovered it, giving the Trojans possession at midfield.

The Trojans were finally able to capitalize when Tidwell connected with wide receiver Teddy Ruben on a pass play of 43-yards out to bring them within three points of the Vandals.

Tidwell led another drive that brought Troy to the 17-yard line, where Soloman tied the score at 16 with a 37-yard field goal with 9:07 remaining on the clock.

The Vandals then marched down the field and capped off a 14-play 73-yard with Rehkow’s fourth field goal of the game for a 19-16 lead with 3:01 remaining in the game.

The Trojans took over possession and drove all the way down to the 20-yard line and attempted a 32-yard field goal to tie the game. Soloman came and clanked it off the right upright ending the game and giving the Vandals the 19-16 win.

“We didn’t lose the game on that last field goal,” Brown said. “There is a fine margin between winning and losing and if we don’t pay attention to detail or do the little things right then we are not going to have a lot of success. We lost that game well before that missed field goal.”

Starting quarterback Dontreal Pruitt finished the game completing eight of his 14 passes while throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball before giving way to Tidwell.

Tidwell finished the game completing 50 percent of his passes at 12 out of 24 for 168 yards. Tidwell also through a touchdown pass as well.

With the loss the Trojans fall to 1-5 overall and 0-2 within the conference.

Troy will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to play New Mexico State next Saturday at 7 p.m.