"[N]one of us said anything in the group chat about it," Jake Andrews, a two-star offensive tackle from Millbrook, Ala., told HERO Sports. "I think we kind of just expected it. Troy wins football games."
So there was no surprise that a 17-year-old FBS member knocked off one of college football's giants who owns as many national championships as Troy does bowl wins?
"Not one bit," said Andrews. "I knew if the guys went in and executed and didn’t make too many mistakes that they’d be able to beat them. Troy isn’t a team to just push over."
That sentiment was echoed by other commits, including three-star quarterback Gunnar Watson, who said, "I knew we’d give them a run for their money."
The 6-foot-2, 187-pounder from Butler, Ga., is the nation's 38th-ranked pro-style passer and picked the Trojans over other Group of Five offers and Power Five walk-on interest in March. He and others lauded head coach Neal Brown for "execution" and refusal to "back down" from opponents, with Watson saying, "Everything is crisp and just runs smooth."
"I think what stands out the most is that they treat every game the same and they won't back down from anyone," said two-star center Grant Betts, "whether it be a team like LSU or . . . New Mexico State"
Troy beat New Mexico State two weeks earlier, holding quarterback Tyler Rogers and one of the nation's most balanced offenses to 24 points. Wins over the Tigers and Aggies — along with Alabama State and Akron — gave Brown his second-straight 4-1 start. Prior to his arrival in 2015, the program had never won four of their first five games. After going 4-8 in 2015, the 37-year-old first-time head coach is 14-4 the last two years, including 7-3 in the Sun Belt.
"I think it is their competitiveness," three-star linebacker Antonio Showers Jr. said of what stands out about Brown-coached teams. "I know they go out and want to win games like these, so they make sure they put in work to have a good game plan for the team to be successful."
Showers and others said a win like Saturday's gets them even more hungry to get to Troy and get started, knowing the foundation is in place for big victories.
"It just gives me a feeling that it could be me in the next few years pulling off another big upset," Betts said. "[I]t's always a lot of fun doing something that no one says you can."
Grant Betts is right; everyone on the outside may have said winning at LSU couldn't be done. Good thing that doesn't matter, because everyone on the inside — and those who will be on the inside in 2018 — knew it could be done.