On a soggy Saturday in Alabama, Georgia Southern fell to 0-7 this season by losing 38-16 at Troy after giving up 28 points in the first half.
The Trojans scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession on the second play of the drive. They ran a trick play as receiver John Johnson threw deep and connected with fellow receiver Travis Eafford for a 40-yard touchdown.
Georgia Southern came back with a scoring drive of its own, capped by junior running back Monteo Garrett’s second touchdown run of the season.
It was also notable from the start that GS interim head coach Chad Lunsford made some adjustments to the game plan offensively along with coordinator Bryan Cook.
The Eagles lined up under center more often, and Shai Werts and Kado Brown split playing time at quarterback. As the game progressed, Brown seemed to take over the lead role at quarterback.
As the rain picked up, Troy running backs Josh Henderson and Jamarious Anderson scored long rushing touchdowns in the first half, and receiver Clark Quisenberry also caught a touchdown from Silvers.
With a Tyler Bass career-long 46-yard field goal also in the scoring mix for GS, the halftime score was 28-10 in favor of Troy.
The Trojans out-gained the Eagles with 264 total yards to 139 for GS in the half.
Both defenses came out more stout in the third quarter as the rain continued.
Late in the third quarter, Troy kicked a field goal that would wind up being the lone scoring play in the third.
Neither offense could find a real rhythm, but Troy already had a sizable cushion to work with, as many opponents of GS have enjoyed this season.
Early in the fourth quarter, Troy, up 31-10, put in backup quarterback Kaleb Barker to signal their belief that the game was well in-hand.
GS junior running back Wesley Fields punched in a touchdown from three yards out to cut the lead to 31-16 just before the two-minute warning.
Running back B.J. Smith tacked on another touchdown for the Trojans with just over a minute to go and Troy extended its lead to the final score, 38-16.
The Eagle offense was again formidable, but their option style prevents them from coming back when an offense like Troy’s comes out and scores big in the first half.
It seems a two-quarterback approach is going to prevail going forward for Cook and Lunsford, with Brown and Werts sharing the load, partially under center.
A balanced running attack on Saturday was led by Fields, who amassed 18 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown. Garrett saw more action than he is perhaps used to, and the ground game was distributed nicely between all the weapons in the GS backfield.
GS managed more first downs than Troy in what one commentator called a “weird football game.”
The key going forward will be the GS defense’s ability to shut down big plays. The Eagles avoided turnovers and too much self-destruction against Troy, which is a step in the right direction. However, the long rushing touchdowns and the trick play out of the gate had destructive impacts for GS.
Falling to 0-7 going into Georgia State week was another downer for GS fans, but Lunsford showed he was willing to make some changes in his head-coaching debut.
Nonetheless, the Eagles head into November winless.