Rypien and Broncos too much for Trojans in opener

Published 9:52 pm Saturday, September 1, 2018

The 2018 season began with a lot of fanfare on Saturday evening. The Trojans unveiled their new endzone facility and fans packed the house in record-breaking fashion. By game’s end, the Broncos had a reason to celebrate after knocking off the Trojans 56-20.

The 36-point loss is the worst in the Neal Brown era and it happened in front of a paid attendance of 29,612.

“We got beat by a better football team,” Brown said. “I thought we lost the game in the second quarter. I like how our guys responded in the second half. I feel like that was probably the best team we have played since Clemson. That is a quality team.”

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Caleb Barker got his first start of the year and after a slow start in the opening half, Barker did enough by game’s end to impress his head coach.

He completed 20 of his 29 passes for 211 yards and had a touchdown. He also threw one interception.

“I think our kids played fine,” Brown said. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the experience level at quarterback, I think it had to with Boise playing better. I thought Kaleb handled the first time starting well.”

His counterpart from Boise finished the game completing 20 of his 28 passes for 305 yards and had four touchdowns.

“I think Brett Rypien is a really good player,” Brown said. “The way he played against us last year is not who he was. I think he wanted to prove a point. They did a great job schematically emptying the backfield and getting some matchups against some of our safeties.”

This biggest beneficiary of Rypien’s great night was senior wide receiver Sean Modster. The senior hauled in seven passes for 167 yards and had two touchdowns.

The Broncos scored in five of their six first half possessions. They Trojans were outgained in the opening half 304-150. Rypien completed 16 of his 19 passes for 276 yards and threw four touchdown passes.

Two of Rypien’s touchdowns went to Modster. Modster hauled in six catches for 161 yards in the opening half.

The Troy offense wasn’t nearly as potent. Led by Barker, the Trojans did little to put pressure on the Broncos during the first half. The highlight came when Jabir Daughtry-Frye took a Barker handoff 23 yards for Troy’s only touchdown of the half, tying the game at 7.

Rypien answered with touchdown passes of 53, three and 54 yards. Running back Alex Mattison also had a rushing touchdown in the half.

The Trojans attempted to pull a little closer at the end of the second quarter, but kicker Tyler Sumpter missed a 32-yard field goal as time expired.

The Broncos added to their lead early in the second half when Tyler Horton picked off a Barker pass and took it 55 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 42-7.

The Trojans took the ensuing drive 77 yards on 11 plays that ended with a one-yard touchdown by B.J. Smith. Barker completed three out of his four passes on the drive for 46 yards.

With the game already well in hand, Barker threw perhaps his pretties pass of the night when he connected with Deondre Douglas for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 11:24 remaining in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 42-20.

Horton became the fifth player in NCAA history to have a fumble return for a touchdown when picked up a fumble and returned it 11 yards to put the Broncos up 49-20.

The night of big plays continued for the Broncos, they scored their final touchdown of the night on a 44-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Chase Cord. Three of the Broncos six offensive touchdowns came on plays of over 40 yards.

The Trojans will be back in action next Saturday when they host Florida A&M.

“We have a starting point,” Brown said. “We have to get better. I do think this, we are going to be fine. It’s never okay to lose, but I’m not sure this football team didn’t need to get kicked in the mouth. They got hit in the mouth in the big way. We are going to find out if this “We Fight” deal is for real.”

“It’s a good learning experience for us,” Barker said. “The have a very good defense. They move around a lot in the secondary. It’s about how you take it. I’m going to take positively and look over the film and make corrections.”