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First Impressions: Troy 24, LSU 21

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LSU has a long, storied history of struggling with Troy, but this was ridiculous.

Troy v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Things got off to an inauspicious start, when Nick Brosette fumbled the ball on the first snap of the game. Now, I don’t want to single Brosette out, but come on. LSU absolutely needed a decent start to put Syracuse in the rearview mirror, and immediately, they put themselves in a hole and gave Troy great field position.

A few plays later, Troy was celebrating in the end zone. One of LSU’s biggest issues this season has been the mental game. One bad thing happens, and instead of responding to minimize the error, the team gets down on itself and makes things worse. LSU did just that to start off the game.

LSU managed to settle itself down a little bit, but each of its drives kept stalling around midfield. The good news was, Troy couldn’t score much either. The game settled into a 7-0 slog for most of the first half. Sure, it was bad, but at least the game threatened to tighten up as soon as LSU woke up.

Troy gave LSU life when it missed a 36 yard field goal late in the 2nd quarter. The miss seemed to give LSU some life, as the offense immediately got its act together and drove down the field. The drive stalled out short of the end zone, but 7 plays and 62 yards later, LSU was on the verge of getting on the board late in the half.

Jack Gonsoulin missed a 35 yarder field goal.

Troy went down the field in fits and starts, converting a big 3rd and 11 near midfield, and then got five downs just outside of field goal range thanks to an egregious offside penalty. Troy took advantage of the extra play, and with 7 seconds left in the half, converted a fourth down to the 20 yard line. Time had seemingly expired, but a review granted Troy an extra play, and they went into the half with a 10-0 lead.

LSU could not get anything going all first half long and Troy, while not exactly putting forth the fireworks, was effective at putting together long, successful drives. At the half, LSU was 0-3 on third downs, while Troy was 7/11. There’s a lot wrong with both of those numbers, but they tell the tale. Troy had a ton of 3rd downs, and they converted nearly all of them. LSU couldn’t buy a first down.

No big deal, right? Go into the half, make some adjustments, and get back in the game. Troy got the ball first, and on 2nd and 10, Jordan Chunn busted 74 yards up the middle. Give Greedy Williams credit for tackling him from behind at the 1.

This set up a goal line stand, and a chance to get the team, and the crowd back into it. LSU stopped Troy on the first three downs and, to give credit, Tiger Stadium came alive. Troy ran straight up the middle for the touchdown. 17-0, and things were now dire.

Myles Brennan came on in relief to start the second half. He got the team inside the 10 on his second possession, but a fumble cost LSU a scoring chance. Two plays later, Troy fumbled it back to LSU, and the crowd came alive again. Brennan found an open Foster Moreau for the touchdown and the crowd was rocking again. Hey, this is what we do against Troy.

The defense forced its second consecutive three and out, their first of the game. And now the crowd was loud on TV. There’s been an effort to dog on the Tiger Stadium crowd, but given something to cheer about, they came through. Things were trending in the right direction. LSU put together another drive, thanks to great starting field position. And then…

… Myles Brennan threw a pick.

The air went out of the balloon and Troy put together a 10-play, 64-yard drive for a touchdown. They converted three third downs on their way to scoring. Every time the LSU defense had a chance to make a play, they failed.

In the endgame, Jordan Chunn ran roughshod over the LSU defense. He went 191 yards on 30 carries, but he also made a critical fumble to give LSU the last bit of delusional hope.

Danny Etling did drive the team down for a touchdown, but Ed Orgeron wasted two timeouts on the drive because no one on LSU’s sideline understood that LSU might need them later. So LSU got the score, but Troy was able to run the clock down to 23 seconds because LSU couldn’t stop the clock. It seems clock management issues didn’t leave with the last staff.

There would be no miracle comeback. Danny Etling threw a desperation pick, though it’s hard to blame him for that one. There would be no joy in Mudville. For mighty Orgeron struck out.

Yeah, this team sucks.