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Troy Sends a Message From Atlanta

By Jim Johnson
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Troy made a statement today, at Georgia State Stadium, following a disappointing showing last week, against South Alabama.

Troy made a statement today, at Georgia State Stadium, following a disappointing showing last week, against South Alabama.

Brandon Silvers, over the first half of the season, had struggled mightily, especially compared to his 2016 campaign. This matchup had all the making of a “get-right” game for Silvers, going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the country, and proved to be just that.

The senior had his best game of the season, completing 25 of his 35 pass attempts for 335 yards, and two scores. His 9.57 yards per attempt average was the highest yet, in 2016, as was his 165 passer rating. Even the early interception was more unfortunate than ill-advised.

The run game got back on track, as well, particularly behind center Deontae Crumitie and to his left, with Kirk Kelley and Steven Rowzee.

The dominance along the line of scrimmage was truly impressive, allowing no sacks and just one tackle for loss, versus a Georgia State front seven that, to many’s surprise, had been one of the best in the conference, against the run, in the lead up to this contest.

Fresh off of a 30-yard team effort, in which the Trojans averaged 1.5 yards per carry, they got back on track racking up 122 yards on 22 rushes with a pair of touchdowns, despite missing their leading rusher, workhorse back Jordan Chunn.

Senior defensive end Seth Calloway stepped up in a big way, on the other side of the ball, leading the defense with two sacks.

All in all, Georgia state quarterback Conner Manning was brought down four times, and the Troy defense totaled 10 tackles for loss, on the day.

Arguably, the most impressive performance of the game, however, was by Troy’s secondary. Manning had been one of the nation’s most precise passers, prior to this afternoon, and had been stacking up numbers, since the Penn State game.

That was not the case against Blace Brown and company. Brown and linebacker Tron Folsom tied for the team lead with two pass breakups, each. Cedarius Rookard also pitched in with a key fourth quarter interception that served as the final nail in the coffin.

When it was all said and done, post-Penn State game, Manning was held to a season low 119.3 passer rating, while completing 62.5% of his attempts, down from 67.6%, which was first in the conference.

Troy still does not control its own destiny. That said, after a showing like that, their goals, once again, feel infinitely more attainable.

App State will have to lose along the way, and Troy must stay the course.

If that does come to fruition, though, all of the sudden that regular season finale against Arkansas State carries a whole lot more weight.

With a little bit of luck, Commissioner Karl Benson could have himself a Sun Belt Conference Championship, of sorts, even earlier than he anticipated.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP