Wins are certainly a foundation for getting to bowl games. Sometimes, however, a loss can say a lot about teams, as well.
Take the Ohio Bobcats and Troy Trojans, for example. Among their losses are at least one setback that nonetheless speaks to quality.
For Troy, there is a 30-24 loss to No. 2 Clemson in Week 2. The Trojans led just once, 3-0 early, but the college football playoff-bound Tigers were never really able to quite shake Troy, which scored its final touchdown with just 44 seconds left in the game. The Trojans led in time of possession and were 28 yards short of the hosts in total yards.
Ohio’s “quality-revealing” loss . . .
They were gritty efforts by both teams, and one might expect more when Ohio and Troy meet at 8 p.m. Friday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile Alabama. One of the teams will go home with the Dollar General Bowl trophy.
Here’s more on the two teams . . .
► The Trojans won seven straight games before losing two of their last three outings. A 35-3 setback at home to Arkansas State Nov. 17 was the only loss by Troy loss by more than six points.
►Troy landed six players on the All-Sunbelt First Team and 14 players overall. Rashad Dillard was SBC Defensive Player of the Year. Other first teamers were: RB Jordan Chunn (all purpose), Jabir Frye (return specialist), Antonio Garcia (OL), Brandon Silvers (QB) and Emanuel Thompson (WR),
► Troy averages 34.2 ppg on offense and surrenders 22.0 ppg.
► Offensively, the Trojans average 176 ypg rushing and 262.6 ypg passing.
►Defensively, Troy has allowed 123.7 ypg through rushing and 240.7 ypg via passes. The Trojans have 18 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and 27 sacks.
► Head coach Neal Brown is the fourth-youngest head coach at theFBS level.
►Troy’s last bowl game was in 2011. It also met Ohio on that occasion and outgained the Bobcats 602-308 on the way to a 49-21 win at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
►Troy is attempting to win 10 games for the first time since it moved to the FBS level in 2001. It posted nine wins twice since that time.
► The Trojans average 7.9 yards on the first play of their possessions this year. The defense is surrendering 5.0 ypc in similar circumstances.
►The Trojans can bring some power. Running back Jordan Chun is a 6-1, 231-pound redshirt junior, while Josh Anderson brings a 6-1, 251-pound frame. Chun needs 106 yards to set the Troy single-season rushing record (1,338 yards). He has 13 TDs on the year and is averaging 121.4 all-purpose yards (102.7 ypg rushing). Anderson owns three TDs off of 52 carries for 287 rushing yards.
► Quarterback Brandon Silvers has completed 269 of 419 passsing attempts (64.2%), good for 2,945 yards and 22 TDs with 10 interceptions.
► Emanuel Thompson and Deondre Douglas have combined for 126 recteptions, 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns.
► Kicker Ryan Kay has connected on 81.8 percent of his field goals (18/22) with a long of 47.
► Rashad Dillard (6-1, 255, Sr) has registered 13.5 sacks. Linebacker William Lloyd (6-0, 215) leads the team with 63 tackles.
► Head coach Frank Solich is in his 12th season at Ohio.
► Ohio put 10 players on All-MAC teams. DE Tarell Basham was MAC Defensive Player of the Year, while redshirt freshman safety Javon Hagan was named MAC Freshman of the Year. Basham on the first team were Quintin Poling and freshman kicker Louie Zervos. The latter set an NCAA record for most field goals by a freshman placekicker. His long is 51 yards (against Buffalo).
► Ohio ranks fifth nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference in rushing defense, allowing 105.1 ypg. The Bobcats held Toledo’s Kareem Hunt to a season low 50 yards, significantly helping OU knock off the Rockets in Toledo.
► Ohio ranks eighth in the NCAA with 43 team sacks. It has 97 tackles for loss, which is third all-time for the program.
► Ohio is averaging 392.2 yards of total offense, including 147.8 rushing and 217.5 through the air.
► Redshirt senior quareterback Greg Windham came off the bench to lead the Bobcats comeback against Western Michigan in the MAC Championship game. He completed 55.2 percent of his passes on the year, good for 1,580 yards and also rushed for 382 yards. He owns 12 passing and three rushing TDs.
► Ohio is the only team in the country that has kept its head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator in place for the past 10 seasons.
► Two Bobcat defenders recorded over 100 tackles: Blair Brown (116) and Quentin Poling (101). Basham owns 11.5 sacks on a team that totaled 43 sacks.