All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, tonight that tired but sadly true cliche applied to Troy's winning streak over their rivals to the north.
The main story of tonight's game was the weather. It was cold and windy, and it rained all day. While the field looked to be in pretty good shape, there was water standing on the track surrounding it, and plenty in the stands as well. I sat up against the press box on the visitors' side, in an effort to shield myself from the rain at least a bit. With the conditions being what they were, and both teams coming in at 4-6 to boot, this was the smallest crowd I've ever seen for a Troy-Piqua game. Still, it was a better crowd than it would have been for any other game, and I have to give props especially to the Troy students for a strong showing.
I thought this would probably end up being a low-scoring game, and that's exactly how it played out. It was essentially a replay of the Vandalia game: stout defensive effort, wasted due to weak offensive output, penalties, and, especially, turnovers. Both of Piqua's touchdowns came after Troy turnovers (a fumble just before halftime, an interception later in the game) gave them a short field. Troy's defense played really well for the most part, but when the offense put them in bad spots, they didn't have much of a chance.
Offensively, this had to be the worst performance I've seen by the Trojans in over twenty years of attending their games. They had just two first downs in the entire game, both in the second half. Piqua's defense deserves a lot of credit for that, but it was also just a continuation of the way Troy has struggled to move the ball and score points all year long. This may be the first time I've seen Troy get shut out twice in one season, and both shutouts took place during downpours (the other being at Vandalia).
It's worth noting that Troy did at least try to add a little wrinkle to their offensive game, starting the game in the wildcat formation with receiver Nick Zimmer taking snaps out of the shotgun formation. After three straight plays lost yards, leading to a punt, the Trojans played the rest of the night with quarterback Matt Barr taking the snaps.
Of course, the Trojans also hurt themselves quite a bit with penalties at crucial times: holding, personal fouls (?), roughing the punter. It was just an ugly game for the Trojans all the way around.
Piqua committed quite a few penalties, too...and some of them were even called. It was a night of, um, interesting officiating, to say the least. One example: Piqua's offense lines up for a play, their right guard flinches, nothing happens until all the Trojan defenders start jumping up and down and pointing, the officials finally blow the whistle, they have a little meeting, after a few moments the referee signals a false start, and only AFTER THAT HAPPENS does one of the other officials finally drop a flag on the turf. There was also one instance of blatant holding by a Piqua blocker that resulted instead in Troy being flagged for a facemask (by an official on the far side of the field, no less). And, my personal favorite, a Piqua player hitting a Troy player in the face well after the whistle, in full view of the line judge, with no flag at all. I can kind of chuckle about it because, given their offensive performance, the Trojans weren't going to win anyway, but it would have been nice if they would have had their act together.
Anyway, the Trojans took the loss, and finish the season at 4-6. Now begins the long cold winter of discontent: 42 weeks until next season rolls around. I'll probably have a postseason wrap-up post after I have a couple of days to mull over the first season under new coach Scot Brewer.