Trojans get ready for Appy State…again

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2000

Sports Editor

After beating Appalachian State 34-28 in the second game of the season, the Troy State Trojans figured they were done with the Mountaineers.

But as the the football gods would have it, TSU head coach Larry Blakeney and Appy State head coach Jerry Moore will once again go head-to head this Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And this time there’s much more at stake.

"They (ASU) told us they would see us again in the playoffs," said Trojans’ quarterback Brock Nutter. "It’s funny how things work out."

TSU senior offensive lineman Charles Thomas said this game will be a big one for the seniors.

"I’m sure their coaches are reminding them that we came into their house and beat them, so they can return the favor," said Thomas. "There won’t be any re-matches after Saturday."

On Sept. 9. in Boone, NC., both Troy State and Appalachian State were ranked in the top five nationally. Junior tailback Demontray Carter helped the Trojans to a second-half comeback, rushing for one score and hauling in two touchdown passes from Nutter.

"We basically had the game under control and they got a late touchdown to keep it close," said Blakeney about the first meeting. "Daniel O’Brien (TSU wide receiver) made a great play on their on-side kick attempt."

Trojans’ fullback Thad Buttone said the team can’t become complacent about beating the Mountaineers once already this season.

"We have to go in and know that anything can happen in this game," he said. "We have to go out and be prepared to play our best, because this is a bigger game then the last one. But we have to take that all in stride, be comfortable and come out a play in front of our home crowd."

After a 62-19 win at home over Alabama State, TSU dropped their next two, including the Southland Football League opener to Northwestern State on Oct. 7.

Left for dead by many after that, the Trojans reeled off six straight wins to capture the SFL title outright with a 28-0 win over Jacksonville State last Saturday night.

"This team has fought through a lot of injuries and adversity," said Blakeney. "I wouldn’t put it past this group of guys to go a long way and maybe even win it all. But of course any of the 16 teams in the bracket could win it."

When the 16 team Division 1-AA bracket was announced on Sunday, the Trojans found themselves as a No. 4 seed, behind only Georgia Southern (3), Delaware (2) and Montana (1). The Mountaineers come in seeded 13th.

A win on Saturday gives the Trojans a second game at home against either No. 5 seed Western Kentucky or 12th seeded Florida A&M, who meet this Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky.

"They are all familiar teams to us," said Blakeney. "We know a lot about both teams."

Especially Florida A&M.

The Rattlers have eliminated Troy State the past two seasons from the playoffs, including last year’s 17-10 win in Troy. In fact, Florida A&M defeated Appalachian State last year also, knocking the Mountaineers out in the first round, prior to beating the Trojans.

"Our seniors all know they have a chance to do something special," said Blakeney. "We took care of McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin this year in the Southland, but Florida A&M is our playoff nemesis."

Blakeney said he’s excited about the opportunities ahead of his team, as well the No. 4 seed, but thinks by virtue of the Trojans’ strength of schedule, the seeding should have been a little higher.

"I like the bracket we’re in but I feel we deserved the No. 3 seed over Georgia Souther," said Blakeney on Sunday. "Based on the fact that they have a Division II win (over Johnson C. Smith), we should have been the three seed."