Holohan: Play with pride, Trojans

Published 3:00 am Friday, November 7, 2014

By Sean Holohan

Needless to say this is not how legendary Troy football coach Larry Blakeney wanted his final season to end.

The Trojans, now 1-8 on the year, are limping into the final stretch of the season — both figuratively and literally.

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With bowl aspirations by the wayside and injuries piling up, there is not much to play for in these last three games besides pride.

But for coaches and players this week, that motivation alone seems like enough.

No one wants to be the stepping stone or the door mat for a conference. And the Trojans still seem determined to finish their 2014 campaign with their pride still in tact.

When asked about taking beatings week after week in the Sun Belt, Troy wide receiver John Johnson put the end of the season in perspective perfectly on Monday.

“We don’t worry about it, but when everybody sees our record, they’ll probably (say) ‘Look at their record. They can’t be any good.’  We’re gonna come out and show records don’t mean anything. Records don’t show the heart, the hustle and effort we put in every day. We’ll come out and play hard this week.”

Pride. Self-respect.

That’s all Troy has to play for now.

But hanging out around the Troy football facilities, the demeanor among players and coaches is still encouraging.

No one is throwing in the towel. No one is packing it in for the year.

And Troy’s chances of notching some wins in their last three games now seems pretty favorable.

In the Trojans’ next two games alone, their opponents are a combined 2-15.

Troy’s toughest test will come in the season finale against a 5-3 UL-Lafayette, but perhaps some magic can happen in Blakeney’s final home game as head coach.

And there is another silver lining for the Trojans.

It has been no secret that the Troy defense has issues defending the run. The Trojans were manhandled three weeks in a row on the ground.

Georgia State, however, does not make the running game as big a priority as an Appalachian State or a Georgia Southern.

The Panthers are ranked 28th overall in the nation in passing yards. Their rushing attack is ranked at a measly 120th.

And for a defense whose strongest piece is their secondary, that alone makes for a perfect formula for Troy to get back on track.

For fans looking to see one more home win this year, show up at Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday. This may be it.

The Trojans still have some fight left in them.

They may be down, but they’re not out just yet.

Show up at 2 p.m., Trojan fans. Show some pride in your team who is fighting and clawing to preserve theirs.