MORAL VICTORY: The Trojans fought Appalachian State until the third overtime but fell to the Mountaineers 44-41

Published 3:30 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Submitted Photo Trojan running back Brandon Burks runs the football Saturday afternoon against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Burks and the Trojans fell to the Mountaineers 44-41 in triple overtime.

Submitted Photo
Trojan running back Brandon Burks runs the football Saturday afternoon against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Burks and the Trojans fell to the Mountaineers 44-41 in triple overtime.

The Appalachian State Mountaineers converted on a 24-yard field goal to defeat the Troy Trojans 44-41 in triple overtime on Saturday afternoon in Boone, North Carolina.

The Trojans (2-6, 1-3) failed to convert on a fake field goal attempt in the first session of the third overtime leaving the Mountaineers with a field goal attempt to win the game.

The game on Saturday resembled a 10-round heavyweight title bout with both teams being able to bounce back up after taking a punch on the chin.

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“Tough, emotional loss on Saturday,” is how Trojans head coach Neal Brown described the game. “I thought our coaching staff did a tremendous job getting our guys ready for Saturday. I’m proud of our team. I think we played really hard. We competed. We are showing signs of growth; I think that’s clear.”

The Trojans, who have shown signs of life the last two weeks, are beginning to resemble a team ready to take the next step forward.

“We are showing signs of growth,” Brown said. “We did a really nice job handling a tough traveling schedule – going all the way west to Las Cruces, and then coming back as far-east as we could go to Boone.  I thought they did a nice job handling that.”

The game didn’t start very well for sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers and the Trojans. The young quarterback threw an opening drive interception that was returned for a touchdown.

The Trojans were able to bounce back on their next drive when they went on a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a six-yard touchdown run by Brandon Burks that tied the game at seven.

“I think we are showing signs of maturity,” Brown said. “Obviously, the first series of the game didn’t go the way we wanted it to – three plays and then a pick. It really wasn’t a bad play by Brandon (Silvers), but it was more a good play by their defensive end.”

After the Mountaineers added another touchdown, both teams traded field goals to give the Mountaineers a 17-10 lead at the half.

Troy came out and scored on their opening drive of the third quarter, when Silvers rammed one in from one yard out. That touchdown would be one of two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon for the sophomore quarterback. Down once again 24-17 late in the third quarter, Silvers rushed one in from five yards out.

Looking to carry over momentum into the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers landed another punch to head of the Trojans when quarterback Taylor Lamb scored from one yard out.

The Trojans were able to get off the mat when Silvers connected with senior receiver Teddy Ruben on an 11-yard pass to tie the game at 31 with 3:49 remaining in the game.

The Trojans took possession first in the opening session of overtime. On the fifth play Andre Flakes ran one in from the 3 yard line to give the Trojans the advantage.

Lamb of the Mountaineers extended the game on his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from two yards out.

The Mountaineers took the ball first in the second overtime and the Trojans defense held the Mountaineers to a 38-yard field goal attempt. Zach Matics nailed the field goal attempt, forcing the Trojans to at least match with a field goal or win it with a touchdown.

Jed Solomon did just that and pushed the game into third overtime session when he sent his 34-yard field goal attempt through the uprights.

Troy took the ball first in the third overtime and was forced with a third and nine. Silvers connected with Flakes who picked up seven of the nine yards needed. The Trojans opted to go for a fake field goal rather than go for a field goal. John Johnson completed a pass to Clark Quisenberry but he was knocked backwards at the line of scrimmage.

The Mountaineers converted on a 24-yard field goal to clinch the win.

“These games are never won or lost on one single play,” Brown said. “I wanted to practice what I have preached. We just didn’t execute very well on the field goal. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would definitely do it.”

The big question mark of the day was how the Trojan offense would fare against one of the top defenses in the country. The Trojans scored 41 points and tacked up a total of 450 yards.

“This is the second week in a row we have played good offensive football,” Brown said. “I think we have scored 93 points in the last two weeks combined. Appalachian State is very good on defense – the best defense in our league, number seven in the country coming in.”

The Troy Trojans return home for the first time in three weeks on Saturday when they host the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.