After starting the season off against two Top 25 teams, the Troy Trojans notched their first win in a 41-23 upset of the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys on Friday night.
Omar Haugabook passed for a career-high 371 yards and a touchdown and ran for 49 yards and two scores in an impressive victory for the "other" Trojans.
The 41-23 final score doesn't do justice to Troy's performance. In addition to Haugabook's effort, the Trojan secondary forced five turnovers and utterly stifled the Cowboys. Boris Lee put forth a stellar individual effort with two fumble recoveries and a difficult interception.
With the win, the Trojans have proved, again, that they can take on teams from the major conferences. In 2004, they upset a highly-ranked Missouri team 24-14.
Still, Troy needs to get better if it ever hopes to become a Top 25 program. Yes, I said a Top 25 program.
The Trojans certainly have the potential—and cash, from all their road games against powerhouse teams—to ditch their midmajor status with a few more years of development.
But they aren't there yet.
On the ground, the Trojans were unable to make plays on offense or get stops on defense. If Coach Blakeney can recruit some fast ends and solid tackles, Troy's defense will be one of the best around.
The major obstacle facing Troy is mental one: The Trojans have the talent to win big games, but they have to learn how to use it.
Up 41-10 against Oklahoma State, the Trojans proved incapable of running down the clock, sticking instead with a no-huddle, hurry-up offense. There was also a point at which the Trojan punt unit could be seen laughing on the field after back-to-back false start penalties. On the whole, the team seemed to be celebrating the victory with as many as 15 minutes still to play.
That attitude can't last if Troy intends to go anywhere.
The Trojan fans, for their part, were so overcome that they tore down the goal posts after the game. Perhaps they know that Troy IS taking the Sun Belt title this year and moving on to a bowl game.
I predict Troy will win the rest of their games—with the exception, maybe, of Georgia.
We know the Trojans have the balls to schedule tough competition. After last night, we know they have the talent to back it up.
Now, all that remains to be seen is whether they have the discipline to become a national power.