Boise State Broncos (#22) vs Troy Trojans, 9/1/2018, 5:00pm
Final Score: Broncos 56 – Trojans 20; Attendance: 29,612
Weather: Beautiful, 86; Ticket: $24; Parking: $10
Review: “Trojan Horse” by Tree
Troy plays at Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is perhaps not the most original name for a stadium. Nonetheless, the “Vet” had been upgraded before the start of the season. The stadium only seats roughly thirty thousand so just about every seat is a good. Having two video scoreboards certainly helps in that department. There were also two video ribbons offering standard stats. Our tickets were $24 for the lower level around the 20 yard line. They were just bleacher seats but we were at the back row of the lower level so we were able to lean back against the wall. The restrooms were plentiful enough, although some were less crowded than others. The trough was nowhere to be found.
We didn’t have much interaction with the fans around us, but they were polite enough. In fact, we were offered free tickets not once, but twice. One thing that was odd was a lack of any discernible traditions once we were in the stadium. No special cheers, gestures, etc. were noted. The PA system/scoreboards ran some of the standard packages you see at a lot games. In the end, it was nothing special. The concessions were a mix of local and regional chains. The souvenir cup was slightly below average, but not the worse I have seen for $4. Even the fans attire was a fairly generic mix of camo, jorts, a few guys in ties, and girls in dresses and short skirts. Troy’s uniforms were pretty sweet though, with metallic red helmets.
To say Troy, Alabama is in the middle of nowhere is a bit redundant. By definition, anything in Alabama is in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, a post-game inquiry as to a local sports bar where we could watch the Michigan – Notre Dame game was met with a blank stare and “this is a real small town, honey.” The bigger issue was the question of tailgating. Like a number of programs that like to leverage the on campus parking to squeeze their boosters and alumni base, there was no way to get a pass for on-campus tailgating. As a result we were relegated to a $10 cash lot in a high school near campus. It was as bad as it sounds. Of the hundred or so cars parked there, there were all of three cars tailgating. I saw this coming and did my best to find passes for sale on at 3rd party sites such as Stub Hub, Craigslist and even a desperation plea on Troy’s Booster Facebook page. I also tried the sports information department at the University with no luck. Getting to the actual stadium was easy enough and from a distance the campus looked to be fairly nice. I do find it ironic that a school where the season ticket packages start at $60 feels it has the gravitas to exclude visitors from traditional tailgating. Look, I know Troy beat LSU last year and they were the Sun Belt champions, but really, it is still Troy. They did have some sort of commercial tailgating zone which is becoming the disappointing norm at more and more schools. It would not surprise me if we saw the end of tailgating with the next 20 years.
Boise was the favorite in this game and it was fairly apparent that Vegas got that right from the start. Boise drove all the way down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive. Troy immediately answered with a touchdown and we thought might even have ourselves a competitive game. However, Troy had no answer for Boise’s vertical passing game led by the son of Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. Brett Rypien sliced up the Troy secondary like a samurai chef slicing up a tomato with a Ginsu blade. Additionally, when the Troy DB’s weren’t getting burnt like toast, the offense was turning the ball over with disastrous results. By halftime it was 35 – 7 Boise State. The Boise fans slowly took over the stadium doing selfies in stands with their mascot Buster the Bronco.
Troy is known for their band, the Sound of the South. We were looking forward to hearing them at halftime. Surprisingly, they only played two numbers and both were Marvel movie theme songs. They sounded pretty good, but overall I would say we were underwhelmed. That probably sums up the entire experience. My guess is that tailgating at Troy is pretty good, but you’re dreaming if you think as an outsider you can participate. The stadium is nice enough, but it is an oddly plain game day experience. It is fairly surprising, given that Troy has been playing football since 1909, albeit at the small school level. However, the program was strong, winning three D2 titles. They made the jump to FBS in 2001, which you would think would have given them enough time to build enough some more traditions. I was hoping for something a little better than what we got. Nonetheless, the football program is decent and would be entertaining against their conference foes. However, if your team is a Power Five program and they are playing in Troy, I would say it is no great loss if you don’t go to the game.