Trojans lose to Vandals on Homecoming

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

There was a lot of excitement coming into Troy’s second conference game of the season. Mix that excitement with the natural excitement of homecoming and many fans left the game shaking their head in disappointment after the Trojans lost to Idaho, 19-16.

“Well I want to apologize to our fans, we didn’t show up and play very well for Homecoming,” said Trojan head coach Neal Brown. “We just didn’t get it done and there are a lot of reasons why.”

The Vandals entered the game Saturday allowing an average of 542 yards per game while allowing 47 points per game.

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The Trojans entered the game averaging nearly 300 yards on offense per game and have really struggles on hitting on the big play.

The Trojans struggles continued into Saturday especially in the opening half of play. The Trojans entered the locker room Saturday in halftime with 108 yards along with a turnover.

“We didn’t come out with enough energy,” Brown said. “Offensively, we had a good first drive, but then we had a negative run. If you look at some of the bad drives we’ve had, it’s been because of a negative rush. But we’ve got to look at our pregame. That’s what I told our coaches today. I want to evaluate how we’re doing pregame warm ups. I don’t feel like we had a lot of energy at the start and that’s something we can definitely improve on.”

Senior quarterback Dontreal Pruitt started the game for the Trojans after usual starter Brandon Silvers left the game a week prior against Mississippi State.

Pruitt struggled to get any momentum started against the Vandals, completing eight out of his 14 passes for 70 yards. Pruitt threw two interceptions and also fumbled the ball in the second half leading to Dallas Tidwell entering the game as the new quarterback for the Trojans.

“What I think happened with Dontreal (Pruitt), he did a nice job managing the game and I don’t think he ever overcame mentally the first interception that he threw that got tipped,” Brown said. “He didn’t play the same way after that.”

Tidwell came in for Troy and brought the Trojans right back in the game. Tidwell completed 12-24 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown.

“Dallas (Tidwell) came in the second half and sparked us. We actually looked like a good offensive team for about the last quarter and a half there.  That was encouraging, we actually threw the ball and caught it and protected the passer. We missed some opportunities, we dropped some touchdown passes, that’s never a good thing.”

Troy and Idaho entered halftime with the Vandals leading the Trojans 6-0 off a couple of field goals by Austin Rehkow from 34 and 31-yards out.

The Trojans came out of the locker room in the second half and looked to have the momentum starting to swing towards their sideline. Senior running back Brandon Burks took off on a 50-yard run that took the Trojans deep within Vandals territory. With the Trojans inching toward the goal line Burks fumbled the football giving the Vandals posssesion on their won two-yard line.

The Trojans finally got on the board with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter. After holding the Vandals to three-and-out. Jed Solomon nailed a season long 41-yard field goal to cut the Vandal lead in half.

The Vandals came right back and forced a Pruitt fumble on the Troy 21-yard line to set them up for a 21-yard touchdown run by Jake Luton to push the Vandal lead to double digits.

After another Rehkow fieldgoal Solomon connected on a 39-yard field goal to make the score 16-6. The Trojans decided to try and onside kick and converted, giving them the ball at midfield down by 10 points.

The Trojans were able to capitlize on the onside kick when Tidwell connected with Anthony Ruben for a 43-yard touchdown pass to bring the Trojans to within three.

That touchdown capped off a career day for Ruben, who surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

The Trojans were able to tie the game on yet another Solomon field goal, this time from 34-yards out to tie the game at 16 with 8:07 remaining in the game.

From there the Vandals went on a long sustaining drive of 14 plays that was capped by a 19-yard field goal by Rehkow to give Idaho the lead with 3:01 remaining.

The Trojans had plenty of time to go down the field and tie the game and got into posistion for Solomon to tie the game from 32-yards out. The ball clanked off the right upright giving the Vandals the 19-16 win.

The Trojans (0-2. 1-5) will be back in action this Saturday when the travel to play the New Mexico State Aggies at 7 p.m.