COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECAP

Silvers golden as Troy pulls away from North Texas

Sports Xchange

December 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm.

Dec 16, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Troy Trojans quarterback Brandon Silvers (12) throws against the North Texas Mean Green during the first quarter in the 2017 New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 16, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Troy Trojans quarterback Brandon Silvers (12) throws against the North Texas Mean Green during the first quarter in the 2017 New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NEW ORLEANS — Senior quarterback Brandon Silvers threw four touchdown passes and ran for another to lift Troy to a 50-30 victory over North Texas Saturday in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

The Trojans (11-2) turned five turnovers into 29 points in lifting the Sun Belt co-champions to the win.

The victory gave Troy its first 11-win season in school history. The Trojans won their final seven games and have won eight of nine against North Texas (9-5).

Silvers threw touchdown passes of 7 and 10 yards to Damion Willis, 59 yards to Tevaris McCormick and 20 yards to John Johnson. Silvers finished his Troy career accounting for a school-record 87 touchdowns. Silvers finished 24 of 31 for 306 yards.

The Trojans led just 22-20 at halftime but broke open the game by scoring three touchdowns on their first four series of the second half. The Troy defense intercepted North Texas quarterback Mason Fine twice and forced him into three fumbles, two of which the Trojans recovered.

Both offenses moved the ball at will in the first half, and Troy allowed North Texas to get back into the game with a huge turnover.

The Trojans were leading 22-7 and seemed to be heading for another score, playing a second-and-10 at the North Texas 22. But center Deontae Crumitie air-mailed the shotgun snap over Silvers’ head, and linebacker Colton McDonald scooped up the ball at the 45 and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Troy lead to 22-13.

Both quarterbacks played well in the first half. Silvers completed his first 11 passes and was 16 of 21 for 138 yards and one touchdown. Fine started slowly, allowed a sack-fumble early in the game, but he rallied to complete 13 of 23 passes for 146 yards and two scores, a 12-yard pass to Rico Bussey and a 7-yard toss to Damion Willis.

Troy jumped out to a 15-0 lead on runs of 1 and 2 yards by Josh Anderson. Anderson’s first score capped an 80-yard opening drive, and his second came after Troy took over at the North Texas 14 on the sack-fumble caused by defensive tackle Jamal Stadom.

Anderson’s 55-yard run to the North Texas 26 in the second quarter set up Troy’s third touchdown of the half.

NOTES: Troy QB Brandon Silvers was voted the most valuable player of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. … Troy won without its leading rusher, RB Jordan Chunn (154 carries for 774 yards), who injured his knee in the regular-season finale against Arkansas State. … Troy averaged 39.3 points in winning its last seven games. … After scoring touchdowns on three of its first four possessions, Troy punted three times and had a fumble and interception on the final five series of the first half. … North Texas QB Mason Fine extended his school record for touchdown passes in one season. His two TD passes in the first half gave him 30 on the year.