Punched in the mouth: Trojans hope to turn the page following blowout loss to Boise State

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2018

There was a lot of buildup and fanfare leading up to the Trojans’ opener on Saturday evening. It was said to be one of the biggest season openers in program history due to the grand opening of the new North Endzone Facility.

Fans turned out in record numbers to hopefully watch their Trojans beat the team they hope to one day emulate in the Boise State Broncos. Following a disheartening 56-20 loss, the Trojans hope to wipe the slate clean.

“I appreciate the fans on Saturday for showing up, I thought we had a huge student turnout and the Trojan Walk was the best that I have been a part of in the eight years I’ve been here,” said head coach Neal Brown. “We are soundly beaten by a better football team. Credit to Coach (Bryan) Harsin and his team, they were ready to go and really took control of the game in the second quarter. I thought our guys competed in the second half and we played closer to who we will be moving forward.”

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The Broncos rode into the season as the perennial power within the Group of Five after being near the top in wins over the last 15 years.

“We have starting point,” Brown said. “I think football is a humbling game. It will humble you quickly. It’s a learning experience. We saw one of the best teams in the country up front and personal. I’m not so sure that’s not the best opposing team that’s ever played right here.”

The Trojans quickly turned the page after Saturday’s loss, but Brown will still go back and watch the film in order to learn from the 22nd ranked team in the country.

“There is a lot to learn about how they approach the game,” Brown said. “I am going to use some examples of them with our football team today (Monday). I think they play the game the right way. We are going to use those guys as a point of reference moving forward.”
The loss was the most lopsided loss the Trojans have had since Neal Brown took over. They lost to Arkansas State in 2016 by 32 points the week after being ranked in the top-25 for the first time in program history.

“Those type of defeats hurt,” Brown said. “I think life is about how you respond to adversity. We got hit in the mouth and I’m going to see how we respond.”

The Trojans did not have practice on Sunday because of scheduled off day, but many of the players were back inside the facility. The team got back together on Monday and Brown was hoping to see some accountability out of his team.

“What I want see out of them today (Monday) is ownership,” Brown said. “Ownership of the fact that we didn’t get it done. There are clear areas of where we have to get better. I think our football team will respond the right way. I don’t know because this is the first time that we have had real adversity, but I said after the game that my gut says they will respond the right way.”

The Trojans will return home this Saturday to host Florida A&M beginning at 6 p.m. The Trojans hope to avoid a two-game losing streak for the first time since 2015.

“Each loss is different. This is a loss that should awaken some folks,” Brown said. “This is a loss that we have to grow from. That game isn’t going to make or break the season, every goal that we have both in-house and as far as a fan base is concerned is still there. We have to get better and it starts this week against Florida A&M. We need to take pride in playing at home and playing well and we didn’t do that on Saturday. We are going to use that game as a learning curve and move on and not overly dwell on it.”