Strong finish: Trojans shoot for 10 wins against Buffalo in Dollar General Bowl

Published 9:34 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

The Troy Trojans may have missed out on hosting the first-ever Sun Belt Conference Championship game, but the players and coaching staff are still excited for an opportunity for another 10-win season.

The Trojans ended the regular season with a 9-3 record. A win in next Saturday’s Dollar General Bowl would give the Trojans double digit wins for the third consecutive season, something that has not been accomplished in program history.

“It’s an opportunity for this team to get to 10 wins,” said head coach Neal Brown. “There have only been a few teams in school history that have gotten to that number. For us to do that for the third year in a row is an opportunity for it to be special.”

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The Trojans have their sights on reaching double-digit wins again. The hope for coach Brown is that the fan base doesn’t take Troy’s success for granted.

“I don’t want our fan base to become apathetic and assume that you are going to win 9, 10 games every year,” Brown said. “That’s not the case. College football is hard. It’s really hard to win games. I want to make sure that our fan base stays excited and stays engaged.”

Troy senior Deondre Douglas burst onto the scene in Brown’s first season with the Trojans in 2015. That season the Trojans finished with a 4-8 record.

Since then, the Trojans have accumulated 30 wins. Douglas wants one more.

“That’s our goal, to leave something that this university will remember us for,” Douglas said. “That’s all we have ever talked about, all we have ever been about is trying to rebuild this program. I want to go out the best way I can.”

Fellow senior Blace Brown came to Troy as a receiver, but after redshirting his first season, Brown went on to be one of the nation’s top cornerbacks in his sophomore and junior seasons. Brown finished last season with an injury. Paired with an injury to former cornerback Marcus Jones, the cornerbacks had a season full of ups and downs.

“Me and Marcus and Terrence (Dunlap) and Jason (McDowell), we grew closer because we knew we had to rely on each other,” Blake Brown said. “I think we grew closer as brothers.”

The cornerback corps will be largely healthy in Mobile and they want to go out with another 10-win season.

“It’s amazing,” Blake Brown said. “I have been with these guys for four or five years and now we get to make history. There isn’t much more of an accomplishment at a university than that.”

To get to 10 wins, they will have to continue a trend of success in postseason play. The Trojans have won each of their last two bowl games including the 2016 Dollar General Bowl.

“I think we are going to be a motivated football team without any question,” coach Brown said. “I’m really proud of what we have done – 9-3 overall, 7-1 in our league – but we didn’t play very well in that championship-type game. The goal for the bowl game is, one, to win; two, to honor our senior class; and the third thing is to get ready for the 2019 season. There are a lot of motivating factors in this game.”

The Trojans and Bulls will kick off the Dollar General Bowl on Saturday at 6 p.m.