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Trojans looking for ways to win the close games

Troy’s third consecutive loss by seven points or less on Saturday leaves them searching for ways to win the close games.

The Trojans fell to Middle Tennessee State on Saturday 20-17 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“Very frustrated. Very emotional locker room right now,” interim head coach Brian Blackmon said on Saturday. “I thought we made too many mistakes. I think at halftime we had four penalties and a turnover and they had none in either category. I thought that was a major factor in the first half. Really proud of the effort our guys displayed, but obviously not happy with the outcome,” 

In three losses against Georgia State, Georgia Southern and now MTSU, the Trojans have lost by a combined 12 points. The Trojans lost by two to Georgia State and by seven to Georgia Southern. The Trojans, for the second time in their last three losses had a chance to regain possession in the final seconds with an onside kick on Saturday.

“It’s three losses where we were right there until the end of the game,” interim head coach Brian Blackmon said. “You look at the Georgia State game and then tonight. We were an onside kick attempt away from getting the ball and getting a chance to go down and kick a field goal.

“The margin of error in this league is so small,” Blackmon continued. “The teams in this league are really good. If you look across our conference there is a lot of comparable teams. You can’t afford to make mistakes and win in our league. The frustration in the losses is the fact that we were in those ball games and your just not able to finish.”

Watson, who made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games, believes the small mistakes have made the difference in the team’s close losses this season. Late in the third quarter on Saturday the Trojans were in the red zone with a chance to tie the game or pull to within four. A Watson interception ended the drive.

“There are mistakes here and there,” Watson said. “We were driving and I throw an interception. It sets us back and puts our defense in a tough spot. It takes away our momentum. We are just making mistakes here and there.”

The Trojans turned the ball over twice on interceptions by quarterback Gunnar Watson on

Saturday.

The Trojans returned to practice on Sunday. Defensive lineman Will Choloh and his teammates are searching for ways to finish off the close games.

“We just hope this week that we can find it,” Choloh said. “We are about to play another good ball team that we can definitely compete with. We know that once we fix what we need to do there aren’t a lot of teams that can play with us. We just have to figure that out.”

Running back B.J. Smith believes the team needs to focus more on the little things that begin well before Saturday’s game.

“The little things matter,” Smith said. “It’s the little things like going to class during the week and going to treatments during the week. Believe it or not the games are lost, not on Saturday’s, but they are lost or won on Monday through Thursday and Friday. We have to harp on doing the little things right.”