North Texas Daily

Big second half propels Troy past North Texas in New Orleans Bowl

Big second half propels Troy past North Texas in New Orleans Bowl

Big second half propels Troy past North Texas in New Orleans Bowl
December 16
16:36 2017

In a game where the momentum swung early and often, Troy University was able to pull away in the 3rd quarter and defeated North Texas 50-30 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Saturday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Troy (11-2, 7-1) jumped out to a dominant 22-7 lead with ease and took advantage of an early fumble by  North Texas sophomore quarterback Mason Fine to seemingly grab control of the game.

But the Mean Green (9-5, 7-1) closed the gap after a botched Troy snap was returned 56 yards for a touchdown by senior linebacker Colton McDonald, and Fine later completed a touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Michael Lawrence to continue to mount a comeback for North Texas.

Trailing just 22-20 at halftime, the momentum seemed to be on the side of the Mean Green as they got the ball to start the second half. But it didn’t take long for things to flip back to the Trojans’ side when a pass from Fine was deflected and intercepted by junior Hunter Reese. After scoring on that drive, Troy quickly forced a three-and-out before adding another touchdown on a fading North Texas defense.

After extending their lead early in the third, the Trojans continued to move the ball on offense for the remainder of the afternoon, securing their 11th win and a New Orleans Bowl trophy.

Troy senior quarterback Brandon Silvers completed his first 11 passes and finished with 305 yards and four touchdowns on 24-of-31 passing. His primary target was junior receiver Damion Willis, who caught 11 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Trojan running back Josh Anderson rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns as the Trojan offense amassed 435 total yards in the game.

Meanwhile, the Trojans’ defense kept the North Texas offense corralled as well. The Mean Green rushed for only -8 yards and accumulated 295 total yards in the game. North Texas fell to 3-12 when rushing for less than 150 yards under coach Seth Littrell.

Troy sacked Fine six times and forced five turnovers while also forcing the Mean Green to go 5-of-17 on third downs after North Texas converted on five of its first six opportunities.

Fine ended the game with three touchdowns, 303 yards and two interceptions on 30-of-54 passing in a game where he took a lot of hits due to the offensive line’s inability to control the Troy pass rush.

The North Texas running game was already hampered by senior running back Jeffery Wilson’s absence, but about midway through the first quarter it was announced freshman running back Nic Smith was limited due to a groin strain.

Lawrence and sophomore Rico Bussey both had a touchdown reception and combined for 134 yards on 10 catches.

The loss was a tough ending to what was a historic season for North Texas. The team’s mission of winning a bowl game under Littrell will be carried into next season after the Mean Green fell short in the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore wide receiver Rico Bussey, Jr. (8) battles to receive a pass. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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