This time, there was no comeback.
There was one, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Nearly nine years after mounting a furious second-half rally and pulling off a miraculous win against Troy, No. 25 LSU couldn’t overcome another double-digit deficit Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
On a November evening in 2008, LSU came alive late in the third quarter and erased a 31-3 Troy advantage with 37 unanswered points — 30 of them in the final period alone — to come away with a 40-31 victory.
Troy (4-1) didn’t completely wilt this time, handling LSU (3-2) on both sides of the ball most of the evening to prevail 24-21 before a paid crowd of 99,879 that included a sizable and boisterous group of maroon-clad fans in the south end zone stands.
“That wasn’t a fluke win,” Troy coach Neal Brown said after his team celebrated with their large traveling contingent long after the final play. “We played physical. We ran the football, we ate up clock, our defense tackled.
“We swarmed to the ball, and I’m really proud of our guys.”
On the other side of the stadium, LSU coach Ed Orgeron, whose program’s 49-game home nonconference winning streak dating to the 2000 season was unceremoniously snapped, lamented a second setback in three weeks.
“Obviously, a disappointing performance,” he said. “We were outcoached and outplayed tonight. That’s the bottom line.”
While the defense couldn’t get off the field in the first half in allowing Troy to convert 7 of 11 third-down opportunities and gave up 368 total yards — 206 of it on the ground — LSU’s offense didn’t help itself.
There was no wooden horse needed.
The Tigers, who had one turnover in their first four games, turned it over four times — which included Nick Brossette’s fumble on the game's first snap that led to the Trojans’ first touchdown.
Derrick Dillon fumbled inside the Trojans’ 10 late in the third quarter, Danny Etling and Myles Brennan each threw an interception and the Tigers were 0 for 8 on third down.
Jack Gonsoulin also was wide left on a 45-yard field-goal attempt late in the second quarter, one play after Etling took a big hit in the midsection from blitzing Troy safety Andre Flakes.
LSU’s last-gasp bid at another amazing comeback ended with five seconds left when Etling, who returned in the fourth period, was intercepted by cornerback Blace Brown at the Trojans 42 as the Tigers were desperately trying to get in range for a game-tying field-goal try.
“When you turn the ball over like this, you can’t win the game,” LSU center Will Clapp said. “It’s just that simple.”
That LSU had a shot, albeit a long shot, to at least tie it late was miraculous.
Trailing 24-7 with just more than eight minutes left, Etling threw touchdown passes of 34 yards to Russell Gage and 20 yards to Foster Moreau, who caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Brennan with 4:00 to play in the third period.
“When you’re behind, you want to fight hard and come back, but we have to have that mindset before we get down and get ourselves in a hole,” LSU wide receiver DJ Chark said. “We waited until it was too late and tried to do the unthinkable, but we came up short.”
The three-touchdown underdog Trojans led 10-0 at halftime, sending the Tigers to the locker room with a chorus of boos cascading on them, then added a touchdown on their first possession of the second half to pad their lead.
Troy running back Jordan Chunn pounded LSU’s defense for 191 yards on 30 carries with a back-breaking 74-yard run in the third quarter that led to his 1-yard TD run that gave his team a 17-0 advantage.
Then, after Brennan and Moreau finally got LSU on the scoreboard, Troy made sure it didn’t waste another opportunity to pull off a shocker in Tiger Stadium.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said a change was coming.
After an interception off Brennan, Troy scored again with 8:14 remaining in the game to push the margin back to 17 and then held on.
LSU wound up outgaining Troy 428-363, but the turnovers and failure to keep drives going and the defense’s inability to get off the field at key times were too much to overcome.
“I expected a lot from Troy,” inside linebacker Devin White said. “I felt like they were very physical and they came in with a purpose. We had some misfits and they kind of hit for big plays.
“At the end of the day, it was who wanted it more,” he added. “You could tell they wanted it more.”
It certainly wasn’t the way LSU, which was celebrating Homecoming, wanted to end its nonconference schedule, considering the Tigers have to travel to 21st-ranked Florida on Saturday for its second Southeastern Conference game.
“We need to keep this team together … they’re hurting right now,” Orgeron said. “We need to find out why we’re not making the plays that we’re supposed to make. We’ve just got to do some soul-searching and look at what we’re doing wrong.”