By Danielle Percival
For the second straight year, it all comes down to one final game for the Trojans to try and reach bowl eligibility.
This year’s team will be looking to do what the 2012 squad was unable to accomplish against Middle Tennessee, but they’ll be facing a tough 6-5 Texas State team that has dropped their last two contests.
Troy has been stuck on five wins since October 26th when the Trojans beat Western Kentucky and being winless over the last month has provided an added spark to end the year on a positive note.
“We’re very motivated. We’re competitors. We want this win,” running back Brandon Burks said. “It’s right there in our grasp. It’s just about what we can do to get it, so hopefully we’re going get it.”
The Trojans are aiming to make the postseason for the first time since 2010, but with limited tie-ins for the Sun Belt Conference and several teams already bowl eligible, the Trojans need to make a statement on Friday.
“I looked at the standings and I think if we can win this game, we’ve got pretty good status,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “I think we’ve got a shot at getting [a bowl]; a very legitimate shot.”
These players know what’s at stake on Friday and know they’ve got what it takes to reach postseason play.
“That’s the subject of the day, every day. Are we going get to a bowl game?” Burks said. “If you even think about football, that’s the first thing on your mind; that we’re capable of going to a bowl.”
It’s not just determination that will decide the outcome, however. It will come down to execution.
“I hope we can throw it because we don’t run it very good,” Blakeney said. “Even though we’ve improved running it, against most teams [we] couldn’t be classified as a running team.”
“Hopefully we can throw it on them. That’s what we like to do,” quarterback Corey Robinson said. “It’s my last game so hopefully we’ll air it out.”
One of Robinson’s most notable targets, wide receiver Eric Thomas, is hoping there are a lot of balls in the air as well.
“However many of them get thrown my way, that’s going be the amount I make,” Thomas said. “I’m catching everything.”
The Trojans have delivered under pressure this season including a game-winning touchdown against South Alabama with only 7 seconds remaining on the clock, and once again, the pressure is on to make the postseason.
“I haven’t ever been to [a bowl game],” Burks said. “I’ve never had a chance to win a ring, and this is my chance, so I really want to do it.”
The Trojans final opportunity to reach six wins will be Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium with kickoff against Texas State at 1 p.m.