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Ohio comes up short in effort to overcome 5 turnovers

Bobcats turn it over on downs on final possession

MOBILE, Ala. – Ohio could not overcome five turnovers, falling 28-23 to Troy in the Dollar General Bowl on Friday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

On Ohio’s final possession, Bo Hardy came up a yard shy of a first down after quarterback Greg Windham was forced to dump the ball off on fourth-and-10 from the Bobcats’ 26-yard line.

Ohio played most of the game trying to make up from the points given to Troy via four Windham interceptions and one lost fumble. Windham had 315 yards on 23-of-47 passing and two touchdowns, with Jordan Reid saving his best game for loss. The senior had 12 catches for 162 yards.

“Hard fought football game obviously,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “Tough for our players. I thought they played tremendously hard, physical football. Good things out there that they did, but one thing that we did that was too much to overcome was five turnovers to two turnovers. Other than that, was pretty pleased at a lot of things they did out there.”

Quarterback Brandon Silvers completed a 47-yard pass to Deondre Douglas on Troy’s first play, and Jordan Chunn carried it in from a yard out to quickly make it 7-0.

After Windham’s first interception, the Trojans threatened to add to their lead, but Toran Davis picked off Silvers at the 1-yard line, and the Bobcats went 99 yards, capped by a Windham 44-yard touchdown pass to Papi White to tie it at 7.

Davis picked off Silvers again, only for Windham to return the favor to Kris Weatherspoon. Troy turned that turnover into points on a 3-yard Chunn touchdown run.

A 33-yard Zervos field goal cut Ohio’s deficit to 14-10 early in the second quarter.

Windham’s fumble recovered by Troy Callaway near midfield led to a Troy field goal try, but Ryan Kay missed wide left from only 20 yards out. But Ohio was not so fortunate on Windham’s third pick, this one by Justin Lucas, which gave Troy possession inside the 20. Silvers threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Emanuel Thompson to make it 21-10.

The Bobcats answered with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Windham to Reid to make it 21-17 less than a minute before halftime.

Windham’s fourth pick, though, helped make it a two-possession game again. His pass was tipped and intercepted by defensive lineman Trevon Sanders at Ohio’s 4-yard line, and Chunn ran it in from there to make it 28-17 with 5:47 left in the third quarter.

As it did all season, Ohio’s defense still gave it a chance late, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the touchdown helped give the Bobcats a short field, leading to a 47-yard Zervos field goal to make it 28-20 before the start of the fourth.

A successful Ohio drive stalled inside the Troy 30-yard line, and Zervos missed left from 46 yards. He answered back with a 37-yarder with 4:01 remaining to get the Bobcats with five.

Troy managed one first down, forcing Ohio to use its final timeouts, but it had to punt, giving the Bobcats possession with 2:20 remaining. Windham completed an 11-yard pass to Reid, but threw three straight incompletions after that before Hardy carried defenders close to – but not quite to – the line to gain on fourth down.

“I felt all along we had a shot, we got off to not a very good start, but our players fought back,” Solich said. “I’m proud of them for that.”

Neither team managed much of a rushing attack. Windham led Ohio with 24 yards on 10 carries, while Chunn had 56 yards on 20 attempts.

Silvers was 24-of-41 passing for 235 yards, completing six passes for 113 yards to Douglas. Thompson had eight receptions for 83 yards.

Blair Brown paced Ohio’s defense with 12 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and fellow linebackers Quentin Poling and Chad Moore had nine tackles each. Casey Sayles had a sack. Javon Hagan also forced his sixth fumble of the season, but the Bobcats were unable to recover.

“It’s tough going out like that,” Sayles said. “You set goals and stuff, we got to the conference championship, obviously couldn’t it. But we got to another bowl game. Losses do happen, it’s not like we got blown out anytime this year really. It is what it is.”

Troy was limited to 322 yards.

The Bobcats fell to 2-8 all-time in bowl games, including a 28-7 loss to Southern Miss in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile in 2007 and a 48-21 defeat by the Trojans in the 2010 New Orleans Bowl.

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