Troy outlasted Ohio to win the Dollar General Bowl 28-23 on Friday night from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
One could say Ohio beat itself, though, as the Bobcats committed five turnovers on the night, including four interceptions from quarterback Greg Windham.
Troy was able to limit its turnovers after two early interceptions from quarterback Brandon Silvers to control most of the game. The Trojans passer threw for 235 yards and a touchdown on the night, using Deondre Douglas and Emanuel Thompson the most.
The two receivers combined for 196 of Silvers' output on the night. Douglas outgained Thompson 113-83, but Thompson had the touchdown.
Troy got off to a quick start after forcing an Ohio punt that gave it possession on the 48-yard line. It took just two plays to get in the end zone as Silvers hit Douglas with a 47-yard completion to get down to the 1-yard line before Jordan Chunn punched it in.
Not only did it give the Trojans an early lead, but it was a record-setter for Chunn, via Troy:
It was the first of three scores on the night for Chunn, who rushed for just 56 yards on 20 carries but was unstoppable near the goal line.
Ohio provided an answer thanks to a pair of roughing-the-passer calls that extended the Bobcats drive. It led to Windham hitting Papi White for an easy 44-yard touchdown as the receiver was wide-open over the top of the Troy defense.
It capped off a seven-play, 99-yard drive that took less than three minutes.
However, both Silvers and Windham had problems reading the opposing defense at times. Within the game's first 10 minutes, they threw for two interceptions apiece.
Bill Connelly of SB Nation jokingly appreciated the generosity of the quarterbacks:
After Windham's second pick of the night gave Troy possession back despite Silvers' second giveaway just minutes before, the Trojans managed to hold on to the ball and take the lead with 1:14 left in the first.
It was Chunn once again, this time from three yards out, via Troy:
The Trojans took an 11-point lead by answering an Ohio field goal with another touchdown when Silvers hit Thompson for an 11-yard score.
Troy was gifted great field position on the scoring drive when Windham was intercepted for a third time, giving the Trojans possession on Ohio's 18-yard line, via Troy:
Windham managed to pull things together to end the first half on a strong note, directing an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive in under four minutes in which he completed six of seven passes. The final one was a five-yard touchdown to Jordan Reid in the back of the end zone when he lofted a perfect pass over a pair of Troy defenders.
He reverted back to his old ways in the third quarter, though, when he was intercepted by Trevon Sanders on Ohio's 3-yard line. One play later, Chunn was in for his third score of the night for a 28-17 lead with 5:37 left in the third.
After one field goal in the third quarter, Ohio had a chance to cut it within five with 10 minutes left in the game, but a 46-yard field-goal attempt from Louie Zervos hooked wide left.
But Ohio's defense held firm, holding Troy on its next drive and getting the ball back with 7:47 to go. The Bobcats managed to drive to the Troy 11-yard line two minutes later, but an unnecessary roughness penalty on offensive lineman Jake Pruehs drove them back to the 26.
It stymied the drive and forced Ohio to attempt another field goal, which Zervos was able to hit from 37 yards out to make it a five-point game with 4:40 remaining.
Troy couldn't kill the clock and punted to Ohio with 2:28 left, pinning the Bobcats on their own 15-yard line with no timeouts. But Ohio could only gain 11 yards on the drive before turning the ball over on downs and ending the comeback hopes.
The win proved to be Troy's first 10-win season in program history and its first bowl triumph since 2010, which was a New Orleans Bowl win over Rice. It was also the program's third-ever bowl win as the Trojans cap off their most successful FBS season in program history, which included a Top 25 ranking in mid-November.
With the program's first double-digit-win season freshly under his belt, Troy head coach Neal Brown kept it short and simple when describing Friday night's game (via Andrew Garner of the Atmore Advance): "This is only the beginning. ... This is huge."
And it's a benchmark victory for the 16 students who will be leaving the program (via Rocco DiSangro of WTVY):
He also took a moment to laud his receiver Thompson, who excelled on Friday night despite playing hurt (via Noah Mindel of WTVY):
To add to the already impressive season, Brown and Troy were coming off a 4-8 season in 2015 and a 3-9 mark in 2014 under Larry Blakeney.
As long as Brown stays at the helm, Troy will continue to develop into a legitimate Group of Five contender year in and year out.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.