Long rest ahead

Published 8:37 pm Monday, September 29, 2008

The Troy Trojans had a perfect conference record last year and seemed poised for a berth in the New Orleans Bowl as the Sun Belt champions, but the Florida Atlantic University Owls had different plans.

The Owls (1-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) invaded Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium and left with a share of the Sun Belt title and eventually took the trip to New Orleans. The Trojans will not have to wait until the end of the season to get revenge on the Owls because the two teams face off a week from today in Boca Raton, Fla.

Troy (2-2, 1-0) head coach Larry Blakeney said this game should be a flipped situation from the game they played in last week.

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“We will get ready to play FAU, who we should have the same motivation for them as we just faced in Stillwater,” Blakeney said.

The Trojans handled the Oklahoma State Cowboys 41-23 in 2007, but lost last week 55-24 in the Cowboys stadium.

But Blakeney said he will have his team refocused and ready for another conference game.

“We can’t live in the past, but we have to draw from last year and make sure we are able to compete,” Blakeney said.

Blakeney said the Trojans will have to find a way to slow down junior quarterback Rusty Smith if they want to win the game.

“We must get a package ready to contain Rusty Smith and not let him out on the edge and running free because that is where I think he is at his best,” Blakeney said. “He is good at breaking contain and throwing the ball. He is well versed in throwing the ball on the move. He has never had trouble (throwing the ball) against us.”

The game is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 7 p.m., which is a Tuesday, not the normal Saturday game day of college football. Blakeney said the extra rest will be good for the Trojans.

“We need some rest,” he said. “We looked tired across the board at halftime last week. This was not necessarily on offense, but on defense because they were the ones getting challenged physically on every snap.”

Troy will have Saturday off, but will square off with the Owls a week from today at Lockhart Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. beginning at 7 p.m. CDT.