The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl finished and the Troy Trojans won. The Trojans were the top defense in the Sun Belt Conference, which really didn’t mean much. UTSA was the ninth ranked offense in the entire FBS. That fact says a lot. I wrote in the preview article here that the game would be too close to call but UTSA should score. The Troy football team showed in the game that they are more of a football program than their record. The San Antonio report called this game “the battle of the defenses,” Read their article here. As famous ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman says before going into a highlight reel, “That’s why we play the games.”
Troy Trojans defense beat UTSA offense
The story of the game is how UTSA’s offense committed five turnovers. The first one was early in the second quarter when UTSA All-time quarterback Frank Harris threw an interception to linebacker Richard Jibunor. Jibunor wasn’t done because early in the third quarter, he had a sack fumble of Harris. Then UTSA tight end Oscar Cardenas fumbled on a drive into Troy territory. Harris threw another interception at a critical point in the game at the Troy 9 yard line. In every turnover though except the last, Troy’s offense wasn’t able to convert the drives into points. The Troy defense dragged UTSA’s offense into a street fight. UTSA only scored 12 points when they average over 35.
Troy Trojans couldn’t move the ball in the Cure Bowl
The Troy offense was in the same “street fight” when they took the ball as UTSA’s defense played fantastic. Troy punted on their first two possessions, hiked the ball out of the end zone for a safety on the third, punted on the fourth and fifth and turned the ball over for an interception on the sixth. UTSA was up 12-0 on Troy without a response. The trend of the game looked like UTSA would win in a poised, competitive fashion, cementing their place as a future New Year’s Day bowl team, a la Cincinnati. The interception thrown by quarterback Gunnar Watson was run back by Chattman but Chattman fumbled the ball back to Troy. Fortunately, the ball went forward to the UTSA 13 yard line when it was recovered. UTSA committed two costly penalties on defense to put Troy on the 2 yard line, when Kimani Vidal scored to make it 12-7.
Troy Trojan Defense led to a Cure Bowl victory
Troy’s offense couldn’t put together drives to compete with UTSA. Troy’s defense though kept UTSA from pulling ahead and it allowed Troy to hang around in the game. Case in point, after linebacker KJ Robertson intercepted Frank Harris at the 9, Troy scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to go up 15-12. It was the inflexion point of the game and made UTSA fans nervous. They must have been asking themselves, “When is our high-powered offense going to put this game away?!” The Troy defense held UTSA to a punt on the next drive and the offense capitalized. They went on a 15 play, 62 yard drive to get a field goal and push the lead to 18-12. Now, UTSA needed to get a touchdown.
UTSA loses their composure in the Cure Bowl
UTSA’s final effort to pull ahead was on the next drive when Kevorian Barnes rushed 53 yards down to Troy 5 yard line. UTSA couldn’t score though. Frank Harris had amassed 754 rushing yards on the season to lead the team. He did not have any rushing yards in this game. Harris didn’t put any pressure on the Troy defense with his feet, choosing to throw the ball for the go-ahead touchdown. That is definitely a decision that UTSA will look back on and regret. The defense lost their composure as the offense turned the ball over on downs. They committed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties out of frustration. UTSA lost and Troy won “their game.”
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