GSU came out aggressive smacking the Troy QB in the mouth on the first play from scrimmage. Perhaps he had a lingering effect, a couple of plays later, he threw an interception to Brian Williams. At the end of the play, a squirmish broke out between the teams. Our coach used to say “the game does not start until somebody gets upset” displaying their will to win. Then It is about channeling that energy and emotions between the lines to get the best performance out of each player.
The interception gave them the ball at the 39-yard line, but the Troy defense put the brakes on it forcing a field goal. It was an interesting drive, QB Connor Manning fumbled the ball, it bounced right back to him as if though, he was dribbling a basketball. He threw a 17-yard pass to WR Marshall, the ball popped up in the air, off the tight end’s hand, before landing in Marshalls. It looked like things were going to bounce in favor of the Panthers, but Troy had other intentions. GSU was first to get on the scoreboard with a successful 30-yard field goal by Brandon Wright.
Troy scored on their second possession. It was a beautiful strike from QB Brandon Silver to WR John Johnson for a 49-yard touchdown pass across the middle. The low flying missile hit Johnson perfectly in stride. From there, it was simply a matter of how he was going to celebrate with his buddies in the end zone.
Devin Gentry thrilled the homecoming crowd on a 46-yard kickoff return, giving Georgia State possession at midfield. Again, the Troy Defense killed any chance of continuous momentum. At the top of the second Quarter, Troy struck again on a 6-yard pass to D Douglas. At this point, the score was 14-3. Troy had a total of 154 yards and Georgia State only 11 rushing yards. Troy had seven first downs to the Georgia States two; one could tell it was going to be a long day. Douglas went off left tackle for a 35-yard sprint to make the score 21-3 with 9:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Tamir Jones gave valiant effort on a little down and out pass, he broke the tackle and darted for 39 yards along the sideline. At will, the Troy defense turned off their power forcing a failed field goal attempt of 42 yards; it was Brandon Wrights second miss on the day. Georgia State had the ball in good field position, but the Troy defense managed to siphon the gas out of their tanks. For example, they put together a 12 play, 59-yard drive that consumed 4:09. The Panthers pushed the ball all the way down to the 1-yard line, but the wall of defense shut the door just before halftime to maintain their twenty point lead.
Georgia State received to start the second half, immediately Troy shut them down forcing a three n out. First snap, a bullet to J Henderson who turned a little out pass into a 42 yard gain. Just like that, they were in for another touchdown 5 plays for 79 yards capped off by Josh Anderson on a 2-yard plunge. As if constructing a brick wall was not enough, the big boys up front started to feast on the quarterback knocking Connor Mannings helmet off and him out of the game for a play. Georgia State had an opportunity to score a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Manning threw an interception from the 4-yard line into the end zone. On the next play Troy QB, Brandon Silver aired it out to Tray Efford for 47 yards. Troy ended that drive with a successful field goal.
The Panthers were playing for pride determined to score a touchdown. They put their best feet forward on a 20 play drive that covered 82 yards in a whopping 8:50. It took the entire game, but one has to admire that type of tenacity and determination they displayed to leave the game on a positive note. Georgia State was coming off consecutive road victories averaging 34 points per game and 469 yards. Today they ran into a buzz saw. They were limited to only 16 yards rushing and 307 total yards. The Men of Troy’s defensive line dominated in the trenches. Meanwhile, their offense put up 457 yards led by Brandon Silver who tossed the ball for 335 yards, completing 25 of 35 attempts with 2 touchdowns. He had one hiccup an interception, but it did not lead to any threat.
The difference in the game was not from lack of effort Troy simply overmatched them in every phase of the game.