My First College Bowl Game Experience

My First College Bowl Game Experience

With the best team we have ever had, New Orleans saw a little bit of what Troy University is like.

Troy University played in the New Orleans bowl against North Texas, and I was honored to be able to go. Football games were a major adjustment I had to make coming in as a freshman this year, because they are so much more fun and more serious than high school. Once it was announced that Troy was bowl eligible, my friends and I took action immediately on where we were going to get the tickets, where we were going to stay, and how little money we needed (we were ballin' on a budget).

We stayed in my friend Catherine's beach house in Dauphin Island, and drove down to New Orleans the morning of the game. We left a little later than expected, and barely missed kickoff, but being in the Mercedes Superdome alone made the experience worth it. There were a lot more fans there than I had expected, with a turn out of 24,904 attendees.

The game ended up being a blow-out, Troy winning over North Texas 50-30, and setting a season record 11-2, the best one in program history.

After the game, my friends and I went to Bourbon Street, and had cajun entree's and beignets.

Overall, New Orleans treated us well, and I can't wait for what the future holds out for Troy University's football program!

Cover Image Credit: Kelsi Mills

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Who Will Fill the Shoes Of USC's Most Productive Offensive Players From Last Season?

An inside look into who will step up and produce for the Trojans in 2018.

As spring football gets underway, the Trojans will look to replace their 3 most important players on their offense from last season.

The first is Sam Darnold, a projected top pick in this year’s NFL draft and the quarterback who helped usher USC back into prominence by delivering a Rose Bowl victory as well as a Cotton Bowl Berth. The next is Ronald Jones II, the workhorse running back for the Trojans who rushed for 1500 yards and 19 touchdowns this year and finished 4th on the all-time USC rushing list.

The third main piece of the Trojans’ offense that USC will have to replace is Deontay Burnett, who before the emergence of Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman, served as Darnold’s most reliable target and finished with over 1000 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns.


Whoever has to fill in Sam Darnold’s enormous shoes will have their work cut out for them next season. Currently, the two most likely players to replace the former heisman candidate are Matt Fink and Jack Sears. Fink, the more experienced of the two, served as the primary backup last season while Sears elected to take a redshirt year.

USC will also welcome in quarterback J.T. Daniels, the former Mater-Dei quarterback who led the Monarchs to an undefeated season and was regarded as the best quarterback in the 2019 class before reclassifying into the 2018 class. In his final season at Mater Dei, Daniels put up video-game like numbers.

According to 24/7 sports, he scored 62 total touchdowns while only throwing 4 interceptions. While Fink and Sears both will have the upper-hand on Daniels come the fall, it's difficult to imagine that they have anywhere near the ceiling that Daniels has. I expect Daniels to come in and win the job, ushering USC into a new era post-Darnold.

Prediction: J.T. Daniels

Running Back

While finding a replacement for Darnold should be the biggest priority for USC, running back will be a close second. During his three year tenure with the team, Ronald Jones, affectionately called RoJo by many Trojan fans, cemented himself as one of the USC greats, finishing 4th on the all-time USC rushing list. Thankfully for the Trojans, there looks to be a solid replacement in place.

Former five-star running back Stephen Carr came on strong during his freshman campaign and while he only had 363 total yards and 3 touchdowns, his performances in the season opener vs. Western Michigan and Stanford in September should solidify his role as a workhorse for the Trojans in 2017-2018.

If Carr can’t stay healthy, USC still has a plethora of options with veteran Aca’Cedric Ware and Vavae Malepeai who both played well in stretches last season.

Prediction: Stephen Carr

Wide Receiver

On the outside, Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman both look like the future for the Trojans. Described by many as “big men with little men skills”, they should be huge contributors for USC next season regardless of who is throwing to them. However, USC still has to replace Deontay Burnett, who despite his lack of size, had over 1000 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns last year.

While Trevon Sidney, Velus Jones Jr., and Josh Imatorbhebhe are all viable candidates to fill in for Burnett, none have the ceiling of Amon-Ra St. Brown, an incoming freshman and arguably the best receiver in the 2018 class. His combination of route-running and playmaking should impress coaches and will be a perfect complement to the skills of Vaughns and Pittman.

Prediction: Amon-Ra St.Brown

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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6 Ways To Craft The "Perfect" March Madness Bracket

It's that time of year again

My family could be described as rather competitive… to put it nicely. Everything can be made a competition between us from who has the most hockey state championships, to playing board games, to who gets shotgun, and even to who mom’s favorite is (a dispute she refuses to settle). Competitiveness just comes with being a Purcell, but some things bring it out of us more than others. March Madness being one of them.

Everyone is always trying to be the one who has the perfect bracket… or in our case, it’s more often the least flawed bracket. Either way, as the years have gone through, I have used multiple strategies in an attempt to construct the winning bracket. I have yet to win, so I don’t know if I’d take my advice, but if you get stuck here are some ideas you can try.

1. Mascots

Some schools just have that one mascot that makes you stop and think, “Wow that is so cool” or “Aw that’s kind of cute” and you might as well give the creative mascot the benefit of the doubt.

2. Location

One year I picked the warmer climate, but I guess you could go for the colder climate if you really wanted to.

3. Where Your Friends Go

As a freshman in college, this was my go-to strategy this year and I have a good feeling about it. Just had to make sure the high school friends know I still support them.

4. School Colors

Look good, feel good, right? So, the best colors

have a high chance of producing positive results.

5. Higher Seed

As someone who is really not a numbers person, it pains me to admit that sometimes you just have to go with the number.

6. V-for Villanova, V-for Victory

I swear I’m not biased, but it just always makes sense to have Villanova winning the whole thing.

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