Stopping Taylor TSU’s main concern

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

Sports Editor

Last weekend the Troy State Trojans had problems stopping South Florida quarterback Marquel Blackwell. This week Northwestern State tailback Tony Taylor is the player with the target on his back.

Taylor rushed for 1,441 yards last season, averaging 5.5 yards a carry and scoring 16 touchdowns. Individually, Taylor holds three single season records at Northwestern State, including most points scored (96), rushing attempts (263) and net yards (1,141). All were set in 1999.

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This season, as a junior, Taylor has already rushed for 669 yards and scored four touchdowns.

"He’s Northwestern’s featured player on offense," said Troy State head coach Larry Blakeney about Taylor. "Player’s like him and (Marquel) Blackwell are hard to stop. You can only hope to limit the amount of times they touch the football."

In Troy last season, the Trojans’ defense did an excellent job in shutting down Taylor and the Demons’ offense. Taylor had just 48 yards on 18 carries and 20 of those came on his only touchdown run of the game.

Still, even holding Taylor in check, Troy State barely edged the Demons 24-21. The Trojans forced five NSU turnovers and were able to overcome three fumbles of their own to take the win.

After 17 years, Sam Goodwin stepped down as head coach of the Demons, which opened the way for Steve Roberts to take over. Roberts came to NSU from Southern Arkansas where he posted a 26-5 record. Roberts is 3-1 this season thus far.

Goodwin left the Demons as the winningest coach in school and Southland Conference history with a 102-88-3 record.

"Sam and I got to be good friends over the years," said Blakeney. "It’s certainly going to be odd going down there and not seeing him on the sidelines."

Despite the loss last Saturday to the Bulls, Blakeney said he and his coaching staff approached practice this week the same as always.

"We’re not changing a thing practice-wise," he said. "We’re not panicking. We’ll look at Northwestern on tape and go from there. I told our players that a team doesn’t peak at the third or fourth game of the season and our best football is yet to be played."