Before losing big to the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday, the Troy Trojans did something incredible the previous three weeks. After getting off to a 1-5 start to the season, Troy won two-of-three, with the only loss coming on the road to the then Sunbelt Conference-leading Appalachian State Mountaineers in a triple overtime thriller.
In that stretch, Troy scored 144 points, while conversely only allowing opponents to put up 65 points in the three-game stretch. The Trojans showed heart and embraced the passion displayed by their head coach as they played an incredible brand of football that came as a shock to Troy fans.
After the heartbreaking loss to Appalachian State, I saw fit to declare that progress had officially started in Troy's rebuilding process. In a state of complete optimism, I stated:
As much as I have changed my opinion regarding Troy's sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers, I am officially on the bandwagon. Silvers is the key to Troy's future, and he is already living up to his potential. In Saturday's game, he threw for 265 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.
While those numbers do not look spectacular, his play is much improved, and he fits perfectly in Neal Brown's system. Brown runs an air raid style offense, and Silvers is an excellent playmaker when throwing the ball downfield. Earlier in the year Silvers turned the ball over a lot, and that raised a lot of red flags for many Troy fans, myself included. But it now appears that the young quarterback's turnover woes were a result of a system that requires him to make plays, and he is finally settling into his role.
With a starting quarterback only in his second year finding his rhythm, the near future for the Troy offense is very bright. The Trojans have excellent playmakers on the outside, and a successful air raid offense helps Troy tremendously, should they decide to run the ball.
The Trojan defense is also beginning to find its groove and appears to be playing with its head on straight for the first time this season. As I previously mentioned, the fiery personality of their head coach is greatly impacting the team, and the defense is playing with a ferociousness we have not seen in awhile.
It wasn't all that crazy. Troy came out the very next week and managed to hang 51 on ULM in a game that saw rain from nearly start to finish. The defense played spectacular, and the offense's aggressive approach was completely unstoppable. Troy fans had no choice but to wonder: "can we upset Georgia Southern and pull a bowl berth out of nowhere?"
I gladly hopped on with the rest of the Troy faithful, predicting a 31-27 Trojan victory. Troy ended up losing by more points than I had them scoring, and quite a few Troy fans are down on themselves for believing that the last few weeks were an accurate representation of what this team is.
But if you really think about it, why does a loss to one of the best teams in the conference, one that has a clear edge in the talent department, have to completely negate a three-week period of dominance? This Troy team is still very young, both on the field and on the sideline. With a young head coach, a young quarterback, and young talent scattered all over the roster, this could only be the beginning.
It's called a rebuild for a reason. There will be ups, and there will be downs. One win doesn't prove anything by itself, and the same is true about a loss. The rebuild is in the very capable hands of Neal Brown, and one game doesn't do a thing to derail that.