Troy looking to keep pace in Sun Belt standings, host WKU ThursdayPublished 11:13pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012
As the college football season reaches its midpoint, Troy finds itself still very much in the hunt for a Sun Belt Conference title. In order for the Trojans to reach the top of the league standing they must hurdle a couple of opponents, one being Western Kentucky.
Troy (3-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) will host the Hilltoppers in a Thursday night bout on ESPNU. Western Kentucky is possibly the Sun Belt’s hottest team heading into the game and Trojan players and coaches aren’t overlooking them.
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“Western (Kentucky) has had a good team and this year they have a very good team,” running back Justin Albert said. “They fly around on defense and do a lot of things well. We’ve got to take of the ball, concentrate on what we need to do and not worry about anything else.”
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said last season’s 41-18 loss to Western Kentucky (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) was probably the lowest point of the year for the Trojans.
“That was an embarrassing day,” Blakeney said of the game in which the Hilltoppers held the ball for 43:34. “That’s a lot of time off the clock.”
Blakeney’s Trojans have shown signs in 2012 of returning to their past dominate form, especially on offense. Troy ranks 19th nationally in total offense, 12th in passing. The unit eclipsed the 500-yard plateau just once last season, but have already accomplished the feat twice this year and came up just short with 495 yards against South Alabama.
“We’ve got to play Trojan football. We play fast, physical and we can’t be stopped,” said Albert. “When we play our speed, we can’t be stopped. We easily could stop ourselves, but if we play fast, physical, I guarantee you they will not be able to stop our offense.”
Lacking the vocal confidence, offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield feels Western Kentucky’s defense will present a physical obstacle.
“The thing about Western Kentucky, they’re not complicated. They show you exactly what they do,” he said as a compliment to the Hilltoppers athleticism. “They’re going to mix up a couple of things, but the main thing is they’re going to play as hard as they can, they’re going to play fast, they have good players.
“We know what we’re going to get. I’m sure they know what they’re going to get. It’s going to be the team that executes and takes cares of the ball.”
The latter has been the Achilles Heel for Troy this season. With a minus seven turnover margin, the Trojans stand 112th in the category.
“You say you’re going to have fewer opportunities, but I don’t know if that necessarily true,” Edenfield said. “It just depends on how the game goes. If we convert third downs and we move the ball, we’ll get as many plays as we always get.”
Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.