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Troy bowl madness

The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl was the destination and the Troy Trojans met their mark. Now head coach Larry Blakeney and his Trojans will try to bring back a second New Orleans Bowl trophy in three years.

“The New Orleans Bowl is where we wanted to be from the outset, no questions,” Blakeney said. “And that is where we are going.”

However, Blakeney hopes the Troy section of the Louisiana Superdome will be packed with the fans that were disappointed about last year.

“I have heard thousands of people, when we had eight wins and not in the New Orleans Bowl and lost to FAU, say, ‘Hey man I had my reservations I want you to carry us back there,’” he said. “Well, we are back there. I challenge all of them to go with us and have a good time with us in New Orleans.”

Blakeney said none of this season would have been possible if not for the dedication of his players.

“We have had guys step it up all over the field to make it happen for this football team,” Blakeney said. “They all were not perfect, but they all did a great job when you go back and consider the games all these guys on this team have helped us win.”

Blakeney said his Trojans have fought through a lot of adversity to get to this point in the season and they are looking to finish the job tonight.

“Being able to be mature enough to handle two long open dates was hard for them,” Blakeney said. “But they always came right back and got right back to work and picked up where they left off. These and coaches ought to be commended for those type of interruptions in a normal flow of a football season.”

And with all that comes the opponent, the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

“We are excited to play Southern Mississippi, a team that we have always thought about getting on the schedule if we could and it has never been able to be worked out,” Blakeney said. “But here we are in a bowl against them and they are a very good Conference USA opponent.”

The New Orleans Bowl traditionally pits a Sun Belt champion against a Conference USA team and in 2006 the Trojans destroyed Rice to the tune of 41-17.

“I was excited then and I am excited now for this program, this university, our people and our team,” Blakeney said. “I am tickled to death to go with this group anywhere.”

The Trojans have outscored their last two opponents 83-12 and are firing on all cylinders.

DuJuan Harris ran all over the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Nov. 22 for 234 yards.

Levi Brown threw for three touchdowns to clinch the outright Sun Belt Championship for the Trojans in the 35-9 win over Arkansas State Dec. 6.

Blakeney said this solid play could bode well for the Trojans heading into the final game of the year if they can keep it going.

“We have to make it translate into the bowl game,” Blakeney said. “And the way you make it translate is the way you prepare. How you take care of yourself is key. You have to get your rest and we are through with finals now, thank goodness. Playing well can translate into the bowl if we continue build those last two wins.”

Kickoff for the 2008 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is set for 7 p.m. from the Louisiana Superdome.