Coming down to the wire, I really thought Troy was going to win this game.
That certainly wasn't the case earlier in the game. At halftime the Trojans were down 14-0 and absolutely everything was going Springfield's way. When they went up 21-0 in the third quarter, I figured that was probably about it.
Credit the Trojans, though. It would have been easy for them to give up at that point, and they didn't. After the TD that put put Springfield up 21-0, senior Nick Zimmer made a long kickoff return into Springfield's red zone, setting up Troy's first touchdown. Then, on the Wildcats' ensuing possession, Zimmer stepped up again, intercepting a pass and taking it into the endzone himself this time. Suddenly it was 21-14, and we had a ballgame.
Things started looking bleak for Troy again after that. Not only did Springfield march down and score again for a 27-14 lead, but then Troy's quarterback, junior Matt Barr, went down with a leg injury. Nevertheless, the Trojans continued to fight, getting their running game in gear and scoring on a long run by Miles Hibbler to give themselves a chance to win.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Trojan defense did a great job of holding the Wildcats and getting the ball back to the offense, and it looked like they'd be able to drive it right down the field. The backs made some nice runs, and some penalties on Springfield sped them along. With the ball on the 11-yard line, I felt the win in my bones. Then the Trojans lost their fourth fumble of the night, Springfield took over and ran out the clock, and that was the ballgame.
So this was definitely a game the Trojans could have (and maybe should have) won. Still, you have to give Springfield a lot of credit. Despite their 0-3 record coming in, I was pretty impressed with them. Their quarterback, Chris Wallace, was really good--poised in the pocket, good arm, nice touch, and plenty of scrambling ability. Their defense was tough, and they looked to be well-coached.
Another thing I liked about them: after the game, all their players and coaches came over to the Trojan bench to shake hands and say something to Matt Barr, Troy's injured quarterback, who was unable to participate in the postgame handshake line. I always really like seeing teams do stuff like that.
The Trojans will look to get on track next week when they travel to take on the Miamisburg Vikings (2-2) in another GWOC crossover game. I've only been down to Miamisburg's stadium once before, when the Trojans played there in 2010 (a 50-14 win). I really enjoyed that trip; I'm hoping for a similar experience this time around.