Dollar General Bowl: Troy 28, Ohio 23: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017
Troy picked off Ohio 28-23 in the Dollar General Bowl. What are the five things that matter, and what’s next for each team in 2017?
It’s the Sun Belt’s world
Louisiana-Lafayette might have lost to Southern Miss, but Idaho’s offense throttled Southern Miss, Arkansas State blasted UCF, Appalachian State cranked up Toledo, and now Troy got the job done against Ohio. When it comes to respect for the Group of 5 conferences, rolling in the bowl season goes a long way.
And it’ll go a long way for Troy.
The program just capped off its most successful season, winning ten games for the first time. It might not have been the prettiest performance, but this is what Troy does. It wins the turnover battle, it gets the offense moving quickly, and it makes up for issues by forcing mistakes. It all led to another big win for the Sun Belt.
Troy forced four picks …
And Ohio QB Greg Windham came close to throwing a whole lot more. The Bobcats might have been in the game late, and the defense did a great job of keeping down Jordan Chunn and the Trojan running game, there were too many mistakes – five turnovers in all – and the penalties always seemed to be a killer. The Ohio O put the D in way too many tough spots, and it showed. If it was a +3 in turnovers the other way, the Bobcats win the game.
The run defenses came up with massive performances
Things might not have gone as planned for either team. The defenses had a lot to do with that.
Had you told Ohio it would’ve come up with more passing yards than Troy, it would’ve been ecstatic – it would’ve thought it could win. But the Troy run defense was fantastic, to go along with the four interceptions.
The Trojans stuffed the normally terrific Ohio running game, allowing just 2.6 yards per carry and nothing more than ten yards. Ohio’s defense was up to the task, allowing three short touchdown runs from Jordan Chunn, but no big dashes – the Trojans failed to come up with a run bigger than nine yards.
What’s next for Ohio in 2017?
This was the year the Bobcats were supposed to make the big splash in the MAC offensively, but if the passing game clicks, next season should be even better. Quinton Maxwell should be ready to take over the full-time quarterback role, but Sebastian Smith and Jordan Reid are done from the receiving corps. The combination of Dorian Brown and Maleek Irons should steady the ground game behind a line that gets back three decent starters.
The defense is going to be the issue early on, especially up front with Tarell Basham and Kurt Laseak gone from the outside and Casey Sayles done in the interior. Blair Brown will be tough to replace at one outside linebacker spot, but Quentin Poling should be one of the MAC’s best in the middle. Three starters return to what should be one of the league’s better secondaries.
What’s next for Troy in 2017?
The offense should keep on humming with QB Brandon Silvers back to lead to the attack that gets back all the top receivers. Best of all, do-it-all back Jordan Chunn returns along with all the key backups. Losing left tackle Antonio Garcia is a killer, and the right side has to be replaced – a slew of freshmen have to step up on the line.
Top defensive end Rashard Dillard is gone, but the rest of the front four returns intact. However, the linebacking corps needs an overhaul, and corner Jalen Rountree is done. Three of starting defensive backs return to what should be the strength of the D in time.