Troy set to take on Western Kentucky on ESPNU

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Troy hosts Western Kentucky tonight in a nationally televised game and Trojan players and coaches are expecting a good crowd.

“I hope we have a good turnout, I wan them all (students) to be there,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. “I’d love to see a full house, but it’s the 11 on the field out there from the other side that I’m concerned about most.”

Western Kentucky’s 11 are playing some of the best football in the Sun Belt Conference. The Hilltoppers (4-1, 1-0) are coming off a come-from-behind 26-13 victory over Arkansas State on the road.

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The game, set for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff, will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Trojans are 12-4 all-time when appearing on ESPN’s three primary stations (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU).

The game will pit strength against strength as Troy’s prolific passing attack faces Western Kentucky’s unrelenting pass rush. The Hilltoppers, who received seven votes in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll, are headed up defensively by Quanterus Smith at defensive end. Smith leads the nation averaging 1.62 sacks per game. Troy’s offensive line ranks 15th in the NCAA having allowed just four sacks on the season.

“(Smith) is a really, really good defensive end who is really good at rushing the pass,” said offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield. “ Hopefully, we can get the ball out of our hands and protect the passer. If we can keep Corey (Robinson) from getting banged up, we’ll be OK.”

Robinson is the Sun Belt’s leading passer with 1,489 yards and a 66.2 completion percentage. Shawn Southward, who has rushed for 516 yards and five touchdowns thus far this season, will accompany Robinson in the Trojans’ backfield.

Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart spoke highly of Robinson earlier in the week during the Monday press concernce.

““He is accurate with the football and can make all the throws,” said Taggart.

“He understands the system. He has good chemistry with his receivers. He knows where everyone is supposed to be. He has been in that system for a while now. We just have to hope he has one of those off games.”

WKU garnered votes in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll, but Taggert said that only one game is on his mind, Troy.

“We will talk about all of those things at the end of the year,” Taggart said. Right now, it is all about Troy. [We are] going out to see if we can go down and beat Troy.

The Trojans are 8-1-1 all-time versus Western Kentucky including a 4-0-1 mark at Veterans Memorial Stadium.