Massaquoi, Robles break out in victory

Published 7:38 am Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Many will associate a 38-35 victory over Middle Tennessee to an exciting Trojan attack. However, few can overlook the impact of the Trojan defense; especially that of the breakout performances of defensive ends John Robles and Jonathan Massaquoi.

With Troy trailing in the game all the way into the third quarter, it was the defensive efforts such as Massaquoi and Robles dual sack and force fumble that was picked up and returned 63 yards for a Trojan touchdown in the second quarter that kept the Trojans within attacking distance in the rivalry match-up.

Jonathan Massaquoi, a junior from Lawrenceville, Georgia, totaled the most tackle for losses on the field with three totaling 14 yards. He was credited with one and half sacks for a loss of 7 yards. Massaquoi’s efforts have already caught him attention as he is now on five different awards watch lists including the Bednarik, Bromko Nagurski and Rotary Lombardi awards watch lists.

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John Robles, a senior Miami, Florida native was also a big asset to the Trojans on their way to their first Sun Belt victory as he recorded a .5 sack for a loss of four yards and totaled three and half tackles in the game. Robles was also credited with the force fumble that was picked up by defensive back Chris Pickett and returned for a 62-yard return for a touchdown, which was the longest return for a touchdown for the Trojans since 2004.

“As far as I know, I saw their quarterback, I swiped the ball loose and I saw Chris running for a touchdown,” Robles said.

The return tied the ball game and kept Troy within striking distance going into the half down only 21-14. The Trojans’ defensive efforts return just as strong in the second half and with help from their offense secured the 38-35 come from behind victory on the newly christened Larry Blakeney field.

“This is our first win, but it’s real big to do it on Coach Blakeney’s field,” said Robles.

The Trojans will get a chance to pick up win number two on the playing surface this weekend when the Blazers of the University of Alabama-Birmingham come to town.

Many may remember the heartbreaking, 33-32, loss to UAB last season.

The Blazers scored on the final play of the games when Jackie Williams hauled in a 44-yard desperation pass as time expired.

Troy is 4-4 all-time versus the Blazers and 2-1 on Larry Blakeney Field.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.