Troy entered Saturday looking to get a statement non-conference win against a MAC program heading south. This was going to be a nice tune-up before heading on the road to take on a LSU club that is struggling in the first month of the season.
Terry Bowden’s Akron squad had different plans.
Troy needed a touchdown at the 1:06 mark in the fourth quarter to finally seal the deal. On the game winning drive, Brandon Silvers found Deondre Douglas from 23 yards out for the go ahead score. For the drive, Silvers led the Trojans 97 yards down the field and would finish the night 28 of 41 for 314 yards and one touchdown.
Douglas, for the second week in a row, led the Trojans in receiving and seems to be emerging as the top target for Silvers in 2017. There were 11 Trojans that recorded receptions on Saturday and this remains a very balanced passing attack.
Jordan Chunn again led the squad in rushing and his production level has increased in each game to start the season. Against Akron, the senior posted 106 yards on 16 carries and punched in one score. But after Chunn, the rest of the backs struggled as they combined for five carries for nine yards. The coaching staff is doing a good job of monitoring Chunn’s carries to this point in the season, but the search for a consistent second option in the backfield is still ongoing.
Troy’s defense wasn’t great as they gave up 367 total yards on the night. Thomas Woodson only completed 50% of his passes but did go for 268 yards through the air. Former Ohio State tailback Warren Ball went for 112 yards on 28 carries with one score. The Zips ran 75 plays as the Trojans had a hard time getting off the field. In third down situations, the Zips converted 9 of 17 while Troy only went 4 of 14.
Turnovers came up huge for the Trojans as they produced three, but this was a really ugly game. Both teams combined for 30 penalties for 259 yards.
The kicking game continues to be a problem for Troy as Bratcher Underwood missed another extra point. Neal Brown would turn to true freshman Evan Legassey for a field goal attempt and he would come up short. This is a huge concern for the Trojans as they move forward.
There were a lot of positives for Troy to take from this game, but they continue to have some self-inflicted wounds. The penalties are out of control and the kicking game is a mess. However, the team is starting to see Silvers and Chunn heat up and that is a good sign heading into the road trip to LSU. The defense continues to play well and Deondre Douglas appears to be the team’s top target. Everything is still on the table for Troy to reach its season goals and they appear to have a much better shot against LSU than any of us would’ve believed four weeks ago. There’s still time for Neal Brown to get the issues worked out.