Appy State’s reputation precedes them

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Sports Editor

Last week, at about this same time, Troy State was preparing to face

Alabama A&M, a team which they knew little about.

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Now the No. 3 Trojans are preparing to face No. 6 Appalachian State this Saturday, an opponent, according to TSU head coach Larry Blakeney, his team is very familiar with.

"We know way, way, way too much about Appalachian State," he said on Monday.

But what Blakeney and his coaching staff know about the Mountaineers comes mostly by reputation. Troy State has not played ASU since 1970. The Trojans won that game 42-0.

Appalachian State is coming off of a 9-3 season. The Mountaineers were beaten by Florida A&M in the first round of the 1999 Division 1-AA playoffs. A week later FAMU did the same thing to Troy State.

Last Saturday the Trojans opened the season with a 28-13 victory over Alabama A&M. Appalachian State polished off Division 1-A foe Wake Forest 20-16 on Thursday night of last week.

Blakeney said with the Mountaineers having played their game on Thursday, he felt it might have had something to do with the lackluster play of his team on Saturday against the Bulldogs.

"I think we did start looking ahead some to," he said. "I think there was a hard time keeping focus, because in the past most of the time games, like the one we played the other night against A&M, we’ve been able to put the opponent away."

The Trojans’ offense came out and hung seven points on the Bulldogs quick, courtesy of a Brock Nutter to Heyward Skipper 59-yard touchdown pass in the early minutes of the first quarter. After that, though, the offensive highlights were far and few between.

"We were not as sharp as I would’ve liked to been," Blakeney said. "Right now, I feel one of the strengths of this offense is in the running game, but we’re going to have to be able to take what the give us. If they show us an eight-man front we’ve got to get the ball in our receiver’s hands."

Blakeney made it known that he was not pleased with the play of his goaline offensive unit, commonly referred to as the "Big" team. The Trojans were first and goal from the 5-yard line twice last week and were unable to come away with any points.

"I’m sick with ‘Big’ team right now," Blakeney said. "That is something we are going to have to be good at are some things will have to change.

If the offensive line can’t feel the gaps in the middle, maybe next time we’ll call a toss and get them outside where they can block a defensive back," he said, joking.

In Appalachian State, Blakeney said the Trojans will be facing a team that is very similar to themselves.

"They like to run a lot of the same things we do," he said. "And they are much more dedicated to running the football then Alabama A&M. We’ll find out this week just how good we are against the run."