Troy ready for Red Wolves

Published 9:21 pm Monday, December 1, 2008

The Troy Trojans will do their best to avoid a case of déj vu this weekend, as they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the season finale at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

Last year the FAU Owls invaded Movie Gallery and ruined Troy’s perfect Sun Belt record and trip to the New Orleans Bowl. The teams shared the conference championship, the Owls hit the Big Easy and Troy was left out in the cold during bowl season.

The Trojans (7-4, 5-1 Sun Belt) get another chance at an outright conference title and a postseason appearance. Head coach Larry Blakeney said his team will go do their best to get it.

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“This is a huge game for us, but our guys like playing in the big games,” Blakeney said. “Winning an outright title is something that has not been done in a while in this league, and we would be happy to get it done.”

Senior starting left tackle Chris Jamison just wants to help his team achieve their ultimate goal.

“We have to win this game,” Jamison said. “It is the most important game in the history of Troy right now. It is a chance for us to be the first outright Division I champions in school history, and it is also a chance for us to go undefeated at home, so it is a very big game.”

Standing in the Trojans’ way in that big game is an Arkansas State (6-5, 4-2) team that, until last year, has proved to be a tough test for the Trojans.

“Other than last year Ark State has been our nemesis,” Blakeney said. “We have lost to them in some very close games. I know they will be as prepared for us as any team we have played. We have a chance to play the best team in our league for the whole ball of wax.”

The physicality of the Red Wolves is something Blakeney said the Trojans have not seen in many of the other teams they have faced in the Sun Belt.

“They are a physical football team and they will use tight ends and two running back sets a lot,” he said. “On both sides of the ball and special teams they will hit you in the mouth and it ought to be a great challenge for us.”

Jamison knows just how physical the Red Wolves can be on the field.

“Arkansas State is a good team,” he said. “It is crazy that we have to beat Arkansas State to get to where we want to be because of all the teams in the conference, me personally, I have the most respect for Arkansas State. Every time I have played them the next morning I have been as sore as I don’t know what. It is such a physical game. Those boys come to play. It is going to be a fight out there Saturday.”

Troy lost to Arkansas State on the road 9-3 in 2005 and 33-26 in Troy in 2006 before blanking them 27-0 last year in Jonesboro, Ark., but Jamison said every game was a physical battle on the field.

The Trojans will also be seeking a little revenge from two years ago when the Red Wolves were the team that prevented the Trojans from claiming an outright title.

Troy and Arkansas State kickoff at 6 p.m. from Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium on Senior Day Saturday.