Punchless: Trojans offense goes silent in loss to Broncos

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Troy Trojans began the 2017 season with a 24-13 loss to the Boise State Broncos on Saturday afternoon.

The Trojans (0-1) now turn their attention towards their home opener against Alabama State this weekend.

We now have a starting point and we’re an 0-1 football team, right now,” said head coach Neal Brown. “We didn’t play well enough on offense or special teams to beat a quality opponent on the road.”

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Despite a lackluster offense for much of the afternoon the Troy stayed within striking distance of the Broncos thanks to a strong effort by the defense. The Broncos offense racked up 357 yards of offense against the Trojans but scored just seven second half points.

Defensively, I’m really proud of how our guys competed and played,” Brown said. “We played a ton of guys; almost everybody we brought on defense played. We’re going to consistently play good defense here. We’re going to be great on defense at some point this year. We flew around, we played with passion, we played with energy, and I was proud of those guys because that’s how Troy football should look.”

Offensively it was an up-hill climb all afternoon for the Trojans. They managed 215 yards off offense and had three turnovers.

Offensively, I’m extremely disappointed in how we played, and I don’t think there’s any better way for me to say that,” Brown said. “We had three turnovers, six penalties and gave up four sacks. We made about two competitive plays in the game where we made somebody miss or we went up and made a competitive catch. I thought we were poorly coached and executed badly.”

Special teams were also a problem at times. Besides Bratcher Underwood’s two successful field goal attempts, the Trojans had trouble covering both punts and kickoffs. Boise State had one punt go the distance and two more that broke into Trojan territory.

We gave up three huge returns, one for a touchdown,” Brown said. “We lost the field position battle decisively, and I’m very disappointed. I thought we won games because of special teams last year. They didn’t contribute to a win on Saturday.”

The play many people were talking about on Saturday afternoon occurred in the final minute of the third quarter. On the Boise State 19 yard line, Deondre Douglas hauled in a tipped pass and the play was originally ruled a touchdown, but following a review it was called a fumble and a touchback giving possession back to the Broncos.

“I didn’t have a good picture of it, I couldn’t tell you if it was correct or not,” Brown said. “He did fumble. It should’ve been a pick-six, honestly. I did see an angle where I thought the ball went through the end zone. But that’s what it was.”

Despite falling in week one, there is still reason for optimism as the Trojans get set to play Alabama State in the home opener.

“I’m not discouraged, I’m encouraged,” Brown said. “Most of the time in life, your greatest lessons are learned from failures. And we failed on Saturday, especially with special teams and offense. I’m looking forward to getting it corrected.”