Troy opens door to postseason with win
It may not have been the prettiest win in the long history of the Troy Trojans football program, but it was enough to breathe some new life into a team that was in desperate need of it. The Trojans were able to bounce back from consecutive losses this past Saturday with a 28-14 win over Western Kentucky at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
And while the win may have put the team back on track for the rest of the regular season, it opened several possible doors for the team’s postseason hopes as well.
The win improved Troy to 6-5 on the season, with that six win making the Trojans bowl eligible for the fifth-consecutive season, and eighth time in 10 seasons as a member of the FBS.
“We got us a win on Saturday,” head coach Larry Blakeney opened the team’s weekly press conference on Monday with.
“I’m very proud of our guys, we beat a good Western Kentucky team that has really been playing better lately. We scored some points on some big plays by Chip Reeves. We gave up some points early on in the game, but I think our defense played hard. It was a pretty good day for the defense.”
That ‘good day’ was one that was much needed for a defensive unit that had some serious problems coming into the game.
During the four-game stretch leading into the matchup between the Trojans and the Hilltoppers, Troy’s defense gave up nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 184 points.
After giving up 121 total yards and 14 points to WKU in the first quarter, the defense was nearly perfect in the remaining three quarters, allowing just 146 total yards and no points.
“We changed things up after the first quarter,” junior linebacker Xavier Lamb said. “We made our adjustments and that was the biggest thing.”
Lamb led the team in tackles on Saturday, finishing with 12, nine of which were solo.
The win preserved the team’s quest for a fifth-straight Sun Belt championship, but while “The Drive for Five” may still be alive and well, there is a new mantra the team is telling itself – “Seven is Heaven.”
With a win over FAU on Saturday, the Trojans would clinch not only it’s seventh win of the season but one that would help Troy appear more appealing to bowl representatives.
“That was the first thing I told the guys in our meeting on Sunday,” Blakeney said. “Seven is what it’s all about and what we are playing for.
“I haven’t talked to anyone about bowl game (situations), but I know what gets you where you want to be though and that is winning. Getting the sixth win relieved a lot of tension with the team, I think. But you get the chance to pick and choose where you go with seven wins.”
One of the biggest reasons for snapping the recent two-game losing streak this past weekend was the improved play of quarterback Corey Robinson.
The red shirt freshman threw for his first 300-yard game against the Hilltoppers since he did so back on Oct. 5, when Troy defeated rival Middle Tennessee.
“It was so important for us (to get that win),” Robinson said.
“We were down in the dumps the past couple of weeks. It was important for both the offense and the defense to get back on track and that was something that I think we were able to do (on Saturday).”
As far as the importance of finishing the season with seven wins, the quarterback said it’s what the team is striving for.
“Seven is always better than six. We always want to win as many games as possible and getting to a seven win season is something that is very achievable for us.”