Troy tangles with Sun Belt leader Ark St.
Published 10:52 pm Friday, December 2, 2011
In a season that many Troy fans are ready to forget, there still remains one final test until the Trojans can move on. Troy (3-8, 2-5) football is gearing up to travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas for its season finale against the number one team in the Sun Belt conference; the Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-2, 7-0).
Though it may seem to many that there is not much left for the Trojans this season, there is much that could be gained from an upset victory over the Red Wolves. Currently Troy holds the status as the only Sun Belt team to have gone 8-0 in the conference, which they did in 2009 on their way to their fourth straight title. If the Trojans hope to maintain that status they will have to knock of the Arkansas State power house.
The Red Wolves enter Saturday’s matchup off of an eight game winning campaign. They’re success comes on their balanced attack. The Wolves offense averages about 167 rushing yards a game and 282 passing yards a game. This allows their offense to average almost 33 points a game. Arkansas States defense is nothing to overlook as well, as they have are only allowing an average of 19 points a game.
“They are very experience, no matter when they got there, they are all older players,” said head coach Larry Blakeney at the weekly news conference on Monday.
“They are a little bit like use. They do spread the field offensively and they’ve got a quarterback who makes good decisions and pulls the trigger. The difference in the two is he will pull it down and run it more often than most defenses will like. When a quarterback carries the ball, that means you’ve got 10 blockers, when he hands it off, you’ve only got nine.”
Troy will have to stop the explosive Arkansas State team after suffering major injuries in last week’s defeat to the Hilltoppers. One key injury the Trojans will have to adjust to is the loss of linebacker Kanorris Davis.
“We have guys to back him up who have played well,” said defensive tackle Tony Davis.
“He’s definitely one of our leaders and inspirations. Losing him is going to hurt, but I know guys are going to rally and come to play. He loves each and every one of us on defense and wants nothing but the best for us. Everybody loves him and understands the kind of guy he is. They are willing to do anything for him. Right before this game, I’m sure he’ll motivate us to go and play hard.”
The young Trojan offense that seems to improve each week will be looking for a signature win against the Wolves to carry them through the offseason.
“We’re going to prepare and play them like we do against everyone else,” said freshman wide receiver Chandler Worthy. “We’re going to do our best to knock them off. We may not have a bowl game, but there is one thing we can be proud of if we knock the number one team off in the conference.”
Though a Trojan victory would not prevent a Red Wolf conference title, it would force them to share the title with Western Kentucky.
“We might help those folks that just beat us last week (WKU) get a bowl if we can whoop these guys and make them co-champions of this league,” said Blakeney.” It depends on who is motivated and if we’ve got enough people to be motivated. I know our coaches are motivated and working hard, trying to get everything sorted out. I hope that we have enough able bodied people to execute and win. That’s what we’re trying to get done.”
The Trojans are set to kick off against the Red Wolves at 3:30pm on Saturday in ASU Stadium. The game can be seen on CSS and ESPN3.co