Troy heads in to bye week looking to make Sun Belt run

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

By Danielle Percival

Heading into a mid-season bye week the Trojans sit at 4-3 overall, but looking at the schedule it could have been a completely different season.

The Trojans could have been a few plays away from being 6-1 or the exact opposite at 1-6.

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The Trojans suffered two close losses on the road to Arkansas State and Duke, and survived three close wins against UAB, South Alabama and Georgia State, having to seal the victory in overtime or in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

“It doesn’t really matter whether I’m pleased or not, this is where we are,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “I am pleased that we’ve gotten a couple wins in a row.”

The Trojans have won their last two conference contests and are in the middle of the pack in the Sun Belt and still in the conference title hunt with only one Sun Belt loss.

Halfway through the season the Trojans are relatively healthy entering the bye week, something that defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt isn’t taking for granted.

“We don’t have a lot of guys hurt as far as out [and missing time],” Bolt said. “You’ve always got the regular bumps and bruises but we’ve got all hands on deck which is good.”

The defense has been the area that has received the most criticism this season, but Bolt says the biggest key for his unit has been their ability to keep fighting.

“We’ve given up a lot of yards of course,” Bolt said. “The every play battle as far as what our kids are doing is very well. We talk about UAB, South Alabama and this past week. All of them we battled and came back and found a way to win.”

“We didn’t get it done at Duke or Mississippi State, but I think the kids are battling.”

One reason the Trojans have been competitive throughout the season has been an offense that averages almost 35 points per game.

Even though the offense continues to put up points and yards, quarterback Corey Robinson seems to think fans are wanting more.

“I guess we’re expected to score 60 or 70,” Robinson said. “Scoring 35 points isn’t a terrible day in college football. You look across and the only people doing more than that are your Oregon and top five.”

Something Robinson is looking to focus on though is finishing drives.

“We’re moving the ball well, we’re just not scoring,” Robinson said. “As long as we just get better in our red zone, which we’ve been pretty good this season, as long as we continue to just work on that and at least come out with some points rather than a turnover or getting stopped on a fourth down I think we’ll be ok.”

After seven straight weeks of competition, the Trojans now have the opportunity to rest and prepare for the second half of the season.

“I’d say we probably need a little break,” Blakeney said. “It came at a good time.”

“It’s good to be able to work on us this week, “ Bolt said. “I think this will be a big week for us as far as staying in there, getting the fundamentals down and getting better.”

The Trojans have four more Sun Belt games on the schedule and Blakeney says the second half surge needs to start next weekend against Western Kentucky.

“A win over them would cure a lot of ills but they’re going to be hard to beat,” Blakeney said.

The Trojans and the Hilltoppers will meet in Bowling Green, Ky. on Saturday, October 26 with kickoff set for 3 p.m.