Trojans head to Miami for matchup in prime time
Published 7:53 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Since joining the Sun Belt conference in 2004 the Trojan football team has never lost three straight conference games. Troy will look to continue that tradition when they travel to Miami, Florida on Tuesday to take on the early conference favorite Florida International.
Both the Trojans (2-4) and the Golden Panthers (4-3) were predicted to finish the conference in the top two positions, however as both teams now hold a 1-2 record in the Sun Belt it will most likely mean that the loser of Tuesday night’s matchup can kiss another conference title goodbye.
FIU held a promising start to the 2011 season with a 3-0 start that included wins over non-conference opponents Central Florida and Louisville. Like the Trojans however, the Panthers have struggled in what is shaping up to be one of the toughest Sun Belt seasons the conference has seen, losing to Louisiana-Lafayette and the Arkansas State Red Wolves who remain unbeaten in the conference.
Despite a heartbreaking loss at home to the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks the Trojans have not given up hope in seeking a sixth straight conference title. The Trojans were able to secure a fifth title in the 2010 season with two losses which gives them hope for the remainder of the 2011 season.
“We won the league last year with two losses,” said quarterback Corey Robinson. “I think that we’re going to get some help from a couple of teams. This league is getting better and better each year. We definitely have something to fight for. We can still get bowl eligible which is something we shoot for and we’re just going to try to win out the rest of the season.”
The Trojans also hope that with more time to prepare for FIU and a stronger determined attitude after suffering two consecutive conference losses that they will be able to bounce back.
“You’ve got to hope that the extra time does help and try to plan it so it will be beneficial,” said head coach Larry Blakeney. “We’ve got to take the bull by horns and we’ve got to go and try to find a way. Whether we’re good enough remains to be seen, but we’re going to find out though.”
The Trojans will also be using the memory of last season’s matchup against the Panthers as motivation for Tuesday as the Troy fell to FIU in a 52-35 upset at home.
“Not only that are we using last season’s game as motivation but I think the motivation is there for a couple of reasons. There is that, but we also still want to finish with wins in the rest of our games,” Robinson said. “There is always motivation when a team comes into your house and beats you, but at the same time there is a lot motivation right now and we’ve just got to take it and utilize it in the right ways.”
With Tuesday’s match being broadcast on ESPN2, the Trojans will hope that too plays in their favor. Troy has never lost a regular season game that has been broadcast on one of the three primary ESPN channels. The Trojans are 12-3 all time on ESPN with all three losses being post season bowl games.
“It is important for the exposure, but it’s probably not important to play and lose or lose badly,” said Blakeney. “TV is king, they rule college football, and I guess it’s a good thing. Sometimes we’re all a little overexposed maybe, but I’m glad that we have the opportunity to be on. Our kids like it most of the time and it helps us recruit students, so except for the long timeouts, I don’t have a problem with it.”
The Trojans kick off against the Golden Panthers in Miami, Florida at 7 pm on ESPN2.