It was probably a fitting nightcap for a day of lopsided bowls; counting the outcome in New Orleans, the average margin of victory in Saturday’s opening round of bowl games was 26 points. But the offensive fireworks put on by Troy in the New Orleans Bowl was maybe the most impressive showing of the day.
The Trojans rang up 606 yards of total offense against a defense that gave up a little more than half that on average during the regular season. Corey Robinson was 32-of-42 passing for a bowl-record 387 yards and 4 TDs. DuJuan Harris had 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 rushes. Seven receivers caught at least three passes, including Tebiarus Gill (4 catches, 80 yards, 3 TD) and Jerrel Jernigan (7 catches, 48 yards). Troy punted twice in the biggest blowout in the bowl’s history.
The Ohio offense, meanwhile, muddled through the first half before the Bobcats finally scrapped a quarterback rotation and put Boo Jackson in charge. Jackson ended the day 14-of-21 for 209 yards passing, three touchdowns and an interception. But by the time he was getting consistent playing time, the game was out of reach.
For Troy, the win adds a positive ending to a season that’s known too many low points. The Trojans lost to UAB, Louisiana-Monroe and FIU this year, taking away what could have been a campaign featuring double-digit victories. An easy bowl win is a solid consolation prize.
Meanwhile, Ohio’s season ends after two disappointing showings. The Bobcats lost by three touchdowns to Kent State at the end of the year. Now, Frank Solich’s bunch got clobbered in their postseason game. Eight wins is nothing to scoff at for Ohio, which still put together just its third winning campaign of the last ten seasons. But it faces as many "what-ifs" as Troy, and has one fewer reason to forget about them.