“That’s a slippery slope at times,” Brown said. “He’s had a great motor in trying to grow his conditioning in that regard, doing the same thing in the weight room. Picking the areas that you can continue to develop really an amazing basketball body.”
Troy has a productive offense as well, led by senior quarterback Brandon Silvers. The four-year starter enters the New Orleans Bowl having thrown for more than 10,000 yards in his career. Silvers has passed for 2,985 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions this season.
North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson, who has produced 1,215 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns this season, is doubtful for the bowl game because of a foot injury, according to Littrell. If he doesn’t play, he would finish his career ranked third in Mean Green history in rushing touchdowns (32) and fourth in rushing yards (3,205).
Steelers LB Ryan Shazier was transported to the hospital after a scary back injury on an attempted tackle in the first quarter. Late in the game, Vontaze Burfict was taken off the field with a head injury after an illegal crackback block by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
While the injury to Shazier was unintentional, Smith-Schuster was called for two penalties for his hit on Burfict — one for unnecessary roughness and one for taunting as he stood over the injured Burfict.
“I don’t have any intentions to hurt anyone when I play football,” Smith-Schuster said. “I didn’t mean to hurt Vontez Burfict, I just wanted to throw a block for my teammate. I apologize for standing over him and that isn’t me. Praying he gets better.”