Snow and cold await Trojans

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2014

By Sean Holohan


That’s the number of miles Troy football will have to travel this week as they embark on a journey to Moscow, Idaho to face the University of Idaho Saturday.

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The Trojans, coming off of a 45-21 win over Georgia State last weekend in the friendly confines of a sunny, 62-degree Veterans Memorial Stadium, will find themselves in a starkly different environment Saturday against Idaho.

With a forecast that calls for snow Thursday and Friday and a low temperature of 16 degrees on Saturday, the Trojans will find themselves a long way from the mild autumns of central Alabama.

Luckily for Troy, the Vandals play in a dome, but that didn’t prevent players and coaches from lamenting the arctic-like weather they’ll surely meet when they get off their plane this weekend.

“I have seen snow probably twice in my life,” sophomore safety JaQuadrian Lewis said Monday. “I have seen it once my junior year of high school and when I got here. But my junior year of high school it wasn’t much. But it was pretty good when it came here.”

Waiting for the Trojans in Moscow is an Idaho team in their second year of Sun Belt play. In the two teams’ first and only meeting in 2004, the Trojans downed the Vandals 47-7 in Troy.

And although Idaho sits at just 1-8 overall this season, head coach Larry Blakeney is not overlooking the Vandals and will not allow his team to do so, either.

“There’s a pretty good team waiting for us,” Blakeney said. “I don’t get into records. I get into what I see. I know (Idaho head coach) Paul Petrino. I know he coaches very prolific offenses. They throw it. They run it. They got a big offensive line.  They got skill guys.”

Quarterback Brandon Silvers, with one of the best games of his short college career Saturday, has given coaches and teammates confidence going into Saturday’s game in Moscow as the Trojans look to win two-straight for the first time this season.

“You can see him grow up sometimes,” wide receiver Chandler Worthy said. “You can see him get down on himself in some games this season. Games like this past Saturday, you can see him growing up and maturing as a quarterback. I do believe he’s someone Troy can believe in the next three years.”

In their win Saturday over Georgia State, the Trojans racked up 324 rush yards including rushing touchdowns from five different Trojans. In Troy’s two victories this year, they ran for a combined 684 yards.

Trojan running back Josh Anderson said Monday there is a distinct correlation between the offense’s ability to run the ball and their two wins this season.

“Running the ball has been a huge factor for us,” Anderson said. “That’s the key to an offense right there, running the ball. If you have no running game, you have no passing game. Especially with us being a passing offense. Running the ball is very important for us. I think that is where it comes into play.”

The Trojan defense, like its offensive counterpart, was opportunistic on Saturday, creating three turnovers against a struggling Panther offense.

Like Georgia State, the Idaho offense is one that prefers to air the ball out.

Even though the Troy defense was able to defend Georgia State’s prolific passing attack last week, defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt is certain that the Idaho offense will present their own unique characteristics that could prove difficult to defend for the Trojans.

“I think everyone’s got their own thing, but facing (Paul) Petrino in the past at different places, he’s doing the same stuff he’s been doing, which is good stuff,” Bolt said. “Their quarterbacks are efficient. They can throw it, got good wideouts. It’ll be a good deal.”

In order to accommodate their travel plans, the Trojans will practice at 6:30 a.m. Thursday before departing later in the day for Idaho. Though that means a shortened practice week for Troy, coaches and players are confident the result Saturday will still be the same — two hungry football teams fighting to finish their season out strong.

“It’s not that big a deal,” offensive coordinator Kenny Eddenfield said. “You still get four days (of practice). We still get the same amount of time for travel. It’s not a big deal at all. I think the best thing is being not outdoors because I think it’s supposed to be chilly. Being indoors probably helps us. If I was them, I’d probably make everybody play outside. That would give them an advantage. I think it’ll be exciting. The kids have never been there. We’ve never been there. Both teams are fighting to finish up strong.”