Troy looking to snap skid against Navy

Published 12:39 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

Despite suffering their third straight Sun Belt conference loss for the first time in school history, the Troy Trojan (2-5, 1-3) football team has not given up hope on their 2011 season as they prepare for the Navy Midshipmen (2-6, 1-3) on Saturday.

Even with a heartbreaking overtime defeat against Florida International last week in Miami, the young Trojan team is still finding many positives to build on.

“Last week was certainly a game in which we could have won,” said head coach Larry Blakeney.

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“It had nothing to do with effort. We played pretty hard, especially defensively. We got some turnovers, which we’re trying to get better at. Offensively, we’re still lacking some explosiveness and explosive plays and consistency. But still, give credit to FIU, they’re a good football team.”

One positive that the Trojans can carry into the Navy game is what has shaped up to be an impressive running game from an offense that is known more for their passing productivity. Against FIU Troy relied heavily on a dual running tandem in Shawn Southward and D.J. Taylor. The Trojans totaled 127 positive yards on the ground with Southward accounting for 55 of those yards and a touchdown and Taylor with 43 yards and a touchdown. Both running backs are now averaging almost five yards per carry on the season.

“We need to run it. Normally when we get into a tempo, we get something going, and we’re playing fast, we run it,” said Blakeney. “Everybody that’s ever coached the game, or watched it very much, knows that you better be able to run the football to produce wins.”

The Trojan defense will get a break from the typical Sun Belt offensive schemes as well as they prepare for the Midshipmen’s difficult triple option offense. Troy’s defense had some success of their own in Miami that the Trojans are hoping to carry into Navy.

Last week against the Panthers the Trojan defense accounted for an interception and two forced fumbles, including one fumble that was returned for a touchdown by defensive tackle Tony Davis.

“There’s a lot of motivation in the locker room to finish 7-5,” defensive tackle Tony Davis said.

“We are striving to get better and better every week. We felt like we played really well that game and look to continue from there on into this weekend. We go into these games with the same game plan, work hard and treat it like it’s your last. I think this game will be no different, conference or non-conference. We’ve got to come out and play strong, and play the full 60 minutes. Our guys have to be fundamentally sound, read the keys, and let the blocks determine what they do. I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge this week.”

Navy enters Saturday’s matchup having suffered disappointment of their own in the 2011 season. The Midshipmen will face the Trojans after coming off of a six game losing streak, including a 56-14 loss against Notre Dame last week.

Navy has struggled on their home turf as well as they are 1-3 in Annapolis with their only home victory being against Delaware 40-17.

“It should be a great trip, and it would be even greater if we can win,” said Blakeney. “I’ve heard a lot of things about everything surrounding the game and how they treat you and your people. I’m more concerned about how we treat them between the lines for 60 minutes.”

The Trojans will look to snap their three game losing streak against the Midshipmen on Saturday in Annapolis. Kickoff is set for 2:30pm and can be seen on a regional broadcast of the CBS College Network.