When you're a team that is struggling to stop opposing offenses and you're facing the nation's leading rushing attack, it's probably not a good idea to fumble the opening kick-off away.
However, that is exactly what the Troy Trojans did tonight facing the Georgia Southern Eagles in Statesboro, Ga. Georgia Southern quickly converted it into a Kevin Ellison touchdown, followed by a defensive stand that quickly led to another Kevin Ellison touchdown with 3:51 to go in the first quarter.
Troy got a bit of a breather when after a three-and-out Georgia Southern running back Matt Breida fumbled the ball away on the first offensive play for the Eagles. Troy drove down for the field goal, but the Eagles answered. Quarterback Kevin Ellison left the game after a hard hit, but Favian Upshaw marched the home town down the field with a series of long gains resulting in LA Ramsby strolling into the end zone to take the score to 21-3 halfway through the 2nd quarter.
After a three-and-out and long Eagles drive down the field, Georgia Southern fumbled the ball again on an errant pitch with time running out in the half. Troy was able to kill the clock and end the blood-letting at 21-3, though it could easily have been so much worse.
The Eagles picked up right where they left off in the 2nd half. Georgia Southern marched down the field - helped by two 15 yard penalties on Troy - to take a 28-3 lead after the first drive of the 3rd quarter.
The drive was delayed momentarily after a scary injury to Georgia Southern Tight-End James Dean. Dean went down and needed to be carted off the field, though he did raise a hand to the crowd as he left the field. He was later reported to have been knocked unconscious on the play. He did regain consciousness and was taken to the hospital for precautionary measures.
Troy gained a bit of momentum with a change of quarterbacks, but some negative plays led to punting the ball back to the Eagles. Troy proceeded to hold Georgia Southern for the first time all night and forced a punt. Georgia Southern finished the 3rd quarter driving into Troy territory and quickly scored again on another LA Ramsby touchdown.
Troy again moved a bit forward before a big sack put them behind the chains on 3rd down. Through half of the 4th quarter, the Trojans had only gained 80 yards. They were forced to punt to the Eagles, who again drove the ball down the field and scored to take the score to 42-3.
Troy didn't give up, though. They fought down the field on a 74 yard touchdown drive to bring the score to 42-10 with 1:18 to go. On that drive the Trojans almost gained more yards than they had the entire night prior.
Georgia Southern got the ball back needing 20 yards to keep their average rushing yards above 400 on the season. They gained 41 yards on the final two plays for 421 yards rushing and ended the game with the final score of 42-10.
Georgia Southern next faces Texas State in San Marcos, TX, while Troy faces Georgia State in Troy, AL. The Eagles move to 6-0 in the Sun Belt, 8-2 overall. Troy to 1-4 in the Sun Belt and 1-8 overall.