The Troy Trojans defeated Ohio 28-23 in the Dollar General Bowl to close out the school’s best season as an FBS member.
Make no mistake about it: this was a fantastic season for Neal Brown’s club. After finishing 4-8 last year, the Trojans won 10 games for the first time since moving up to the FBS level in 2001. They also pushed Clemson to the limit in the second game of the season, and defeated Sun Belt co-champion Appalachian State. Even though a loss to Georgia Southern in the finale cost Troy a share of the conference title, it would still be hard to view the 2016 campaign as anything other than a success, especially after Friday’s win over Ohio. Remember, the Bobcats gave Tennessee all it could handle, and nearly upset Western Michigan in the MAC title game.
Although this victory was huge in the grand scheme of things, it was far from perfect. The Troy offense struggled for most of the evening, finishing with only 322 yards – its third-lowest output of the season. The defense also had trouble at times, allowing Ohio to pick up 393 yards and 23 first downs.
Despite these issues, the Trojans won this game in a more convincing manner than the final score would indicate. The front seven dominated this contest from the opening whistle, limiting Ohio to 78 yards on 30 carries. It also kept the heat on Greg Windham all night long, sacking him twice, and forcing him to rush a number of throws. As a result, Windham threw four interceptions, which ultimately led to three touchdowns.
With the victory, Troy not only capped off a great season: it also served notice that it will be a contender in the Sun Belt next year. After all, the Trojans welcome back 15 starters next fall, including all-conference performers Brandon Silvers, Jordan Chunn, and Deondre Douglas. Considering that most of these same players nearly upset a College Football Playoff contender on the road in 2016, it’s safe to say that they’ll make a lot of noise in the Sun Belt in 2017.