It was almost a winning night for the Troy Trojans as a major comeback effort fell just short against ULM.
After falling behind 13-0 early in the second quarter, freshman quarterback Brandon Silvers led Troy to a fourth quarter lead that ultimately wasn't quite enough. Journeyman QB Pete Thomas took his ULM team back down the gridiron and the Warhawks hit a game-winning field goal with less than two minutes remaining.
This might be that rarest of games where both fan bases walked away happy.
For ULM, the win puts them at 3-1 on the season and tied with Georgia Southern for first place in the Sun Belt. For Troy (0-5, 0-1 Sun Belt), the team finally put up a fight after looking lifeless the last two weeks. Silvers returned after missing the Georgia game with a concussion and played a lights-out contest, finishing with 270 yards and three touchdown passes. More importantly, he has three years of eligibility left.
Unfortunately for the visitors, ULM's defensive line sacked Silvers five times, including a drive killer late in the game. Still, he ended the game with a 163.5 quarterback rating.
The contest looked like it would be a blowout when ULM jumped to a 13-0 lead. But when Brian Holmes caught a touchdown pass to make it 13-7, the Trojans defense stiffened as well -- or the ULM offense started shooting itself in the foot, depending on your perspective.
The Warhawks went three and out in the ensuing drive, and later Thomas was picked off by Femi Odaibo. Silvers then threw a touchdown pass to Chandler Worthy to put the Trojans up 14-13 at the half.
To put it simply, ULM owned the first quarter and Troy owned the second. At one point ULM had nine first downs to Troy's one. Troy evened it up to nine first downs each by the break.
The third quarter was a battle of field position which was ultimately won by ULM. Troy seemed to start every drive inside its own 10 yard line for a while and the Warhawks took advantage when Thomas hit Ajalen Holley to put ULM up 19-14.
Troy again took a lead when Silvers found Worthy in the end zone a second time in the fourth quarter. A two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Silvers tried to do the "up and over" by jumping into the end zone but was stuffed by ULM's Michael Johnson.
The Troy defense was able to keep ULM out of the end zone on the next drive, however, the offense got to within easy field goal range and took the lead. Trailing 22-20, Silvers had one last chance to lead a game-winning drive, but the effort stalled at mid field.
Next week, ULM plays at defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State. Troy has a week off before heading out west to take on New Mexico State.