The rain did not stop coming Friday night or Saturday morning, but Mother Nature did not prevent the Troy Trojans from holding their annual T-Day game Saturday afternoon.
The Cardinal, Troy’s offense, squared off against the Black, Troy’s defense, in an open scrimmage with no score kept. The Trojans offense scored three touchdowns on the day and the defense had three interceptions and a recovered fumble to go along with three sacks.
“We had to cut it short because of lack of numbers and offensive linemen,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “But there were a lot of good things today. I don’t like Levi (Brown) throwing those interceptions.”
Blakeney said eight Trojan starters were not on the field for the annual scrimmage. Wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, linebackers Boris Lee and Bear Woods, defensive linemen Cameron Sheffield and Brandon Lang and three offensive linemen did not play Saturday.
“There are a lot of excuses, but there is nothing we can do except keep on working through it,” Blakeney said. “The main thing we have to do now is finish strong and make sure we get some fundamentals worked in next week.”
Wide receivers Chip Reeves and Jason Bruce made the most of T-Day, as they combined for eight catches, 135 yards and the Trojans’ only two touchdowns through the air.
Reeves, who will be a sophomore next season for the Trojans, caught a pass from freshman Corey Robinson and battled his way into the end zone for a 24-yard strike through the air.
“All I was thinking about was getting in the end zone and making a play for my team,” Reeves said. “I was feeling a little stiff in the beginning, but after a while I got into a groove. I was just excited to get out there today because I have been trying to show the coaches what I can do since I got here, so I just try to work hard and do everything they tell me so I can be successful.”
Bruce, the Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Miss.) junior transfer, led all receivers with four catches for 73 yards and had the biggest move of the afternoon.
He caught a pass from Brown towards the end of the scrimmage, juked a man at the 10-yard line, dove for the end zone and was knocked out at the half-yard line.
“I am known for making plays and coach calls me a playmaker and every time the ball is in my hands I want to try and score and make people miss,” Bruce said. “I always want to get positive yards when I touch the ball.
“I wanted to come out prepared for my first scrimmage at a D-I level because coach always told me making plays would be the key for me because of my size. I am only 165 pounds so my speed makes up for my weight.”
Last year during this game quarterback Levi Brown was in a three-way battle with Jamie Hampton and Tanner Jones to take the reins of the Trojan offense, but Brown has more security this year.
“Levi proved his worth during the course of the year and deserves to be the starter here,” Blakeney said. “He will be a lot better when he has all of his weapons and linemen healthy. Levi has certainly earned the right to be considered the starter on this football team.”
Brown takes comfort knowing that he is the starter.
“It is a lot less stressful for sure,” Brown said. “I was stressed out last spring after that three-way battle between me, Tanner and Jamie. It gives me a lot more confidence this spring knowing that the job is mine.”
Brown did not shine on the field Saturday, but he got the job done, going 13-of-24 for 172 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Freshman Corey Robinson was 8-of-10 for 102 yards and one touchdown.
Neither Jones nor Hampton received work behind center, as they are both recovering from knee injuries suffered last season.
Tailback Fernandus Edwards scored the only other touchdown on the afternoon on a two-yard scamper.
Chris Bowens, Daniel Sheffield, Sam Sellers and Emmanuel Dudley led the team in tackles with five apiece. Chigozie Nwankwo recorded two sacks and Kevin Dixon had one sack.
Bryan Willis, Courtland Fuller and Dre Harris each picked off a pass on defense and Fuller took his back 93 yards for a touchdown.
Blakeney said he plans to finish spring practice Thursday and have a team meeting to let all the players know where they stand Friday.
The Trojans first game is Sept. 3 on the road against Bowling Green.
Click here for a photo gallery of Saturday’s action