Trojans turn attention to South Alabama

Published 10:29 pm Monday, September 30, 2013

By Danielle Percival

The Troy Trojans came close but were unable to play spoiler on homecoming, falling to the Duke Blue Devils 38-31 at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday.

In the first quarter, Duke outscored Troy by a touchdown, but for the remainder of the game, the two teams matched one another score for score.

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“We just kept fighting and digging deep,” wide receiver Eric Thomas said. “We came up just a little short at the end.”

It was a game that showcased the offensive power of both sides with over 1000 yards accumulated between the two.

Corey Robinson finished the game 35-of-41 for 354 yards and two touchdowns.

Troy also was able to restore more balance to the offensive attack with 150 yards on the ground and Brandon Burks leading the team in rushing with 68 yards.

Several long plays were negated because of holding penalties; something the team knows they have to eliminate in order to be victorious.

“That’s the only thing that stopped us,” Robinson said.

“It’s so frustrating because even as bad as we played sometimes during the course of the game, we were so close to winning,” head coach Larry Blakeney said.

Thomas entered the game one touchdown shy of the career conference record for touchdown receptions and tied it with a 12-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter; however, Thomas didn’t have much to say about the record.

“The victory would have been better,” Thomas said.

It wasn’t just the Trojans racking up the yards and lighting up the scoreboard.

Duke’s quarterback Brandon Connette accounted for 324 yards through the air and 55 on the ground.

The Blue Devils were able to connect on several long pass plays including a 3rd-and-20 that was converted for a 50-yard gain.

Connette also hit Jamison Crowder for a 60-yard touchdown and Crowder finished with 180 all-purpose yards.

It wasn’t just the deep ball that caused the Trojan defense problems in the game.

“They were difficult guys to tackle, Blakeney said. “It was like a circus for a while. Finally I think we got settled in.”

The Trojans were in it until the end, and had the ball at their own 22 with 31 seconds left to play.

The final play of the game was a hail mary toward the end zone that was picked off for the Trojans only turnover of the game.

“We [are] always preaching no turnovers and every time we get the ball score,” Thomas said.

The biggest key according to Robinson is to finish every drive.

“You shoot to score on every drive from an offensive stand point,” Robinson said. “We’re just going to shoot to score more points. We do that, we win more games.”

The Trojans ended their three game road trip having dropped all three contests.

“That’s tough on the old body, I don’t care how young they are,” Blakeney said. “I’m sure it takes its toll in some aspects.”

Troy will be returning home this weekend but the task ahead of them is not an easy one either.

South Alabama (2-2) beat Western Kentucky in their conference opener 31-24 and the Trojans know every conference contest is important.

“They’ve been improving steadily over the past couple of years and we’re going to have to bring our A game against them,” Robinson said.