Troy Trojans hoping #8216;giving back#039; pays off with win

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

Troy University head coach Larry Blakeney made a simple request to his team leading up to the Trojans' homecoming showdown with Sun Belt Conference rival University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Give something extra back.

&#8220I challenged our guys to find a way to give a little something extra back to the team this week,” Blakeney said. &#8220I didn't tell them what it had to be, but I asked them to give something back. It may just be getting a little extra rest instead of going out. It doesn't have to be big, but it shows we're all in this thing together.”

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For many of the Trojans, giving back meant avoiding some of the homecoming hoopla.

&#8220I try to stay away from all the extra stuff that goes with homecoming,” Troy University junior wide receiver Gary Banks said. &#8220This game with Louisiana-Lafayette is too big to get caught up in all of that other stuff. It's nice for the other students and the alumni, but as a team our focus needs to be on the game and getting a win.”

Troy University senior linebacker Ryan Babb said: &#8220I haven't really got caught up in all the extra cookouts and parties. There's a lot of that going on around campus, but that's the kinds of things that can distract you. For me, I've tried to avoid those things and keep this week as much like a normal game week as I can because this game is huge for us. A win here puts us one game closer to our goal of getting to the New Orleans Bowl.”

Blakeney and the Trojans are hoping that &#8220giving back” pays off as a check in the win column.

&#8220This is a vital game for us,” Blakeney, who has guided the Trojans to a 13-1-1 record in homecoming games, said. &#8220In our league the road can be treacherous. You get away from home and your chances of losing a game increase some, so we need to make sure that when we have teams at home we do whatever we can to win the game.”

This season the Trojans are a perfect 3-0 at home, including wins over Sun Belt Conference foes University of Louisiana-Monroe and University of North Texas.

Troy's showdown with the Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday closes out a three-game homestand for Troy, which has just one more game inside the friendly confines of Movie Gallery Stadium - a Nov. 18 matchup with Arkansas State University.

&#8220I think there's some urgency with this game,” Troy University senior center Zach Yenser said. &#8220We know that this is an important game for us as far as our goal of winning the league and getting to the New Orleans Bowl, and it's huge to have this game at home. We still have three conference games on the road after this, so we understand that we need to take advantage of our home games. And it's homecoming. You always want to win on homecoming.”

Troy will look to extend its school record eight straight homecoming wins to nine on Saturday when it faces off with Louisiana-Lafayette.

Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.