Stiff test looms for Trojans

Published 3:00 am Friday, November 28, 2014

Two hundred ninety-two games later, this is it. Larry Blakeney has reached the end of the road at Troy.
And with all of the emotion involved in the tributes, ceremonies and stories, it is easy to forget that there is a still a game to be played Saturday.
In the last two weeks, Troy has looked like a different team, going 2-0 and outscoring their opponents 79-38, winning each game comfortably.
Now, with their bye week behind them, Troy will welcome Sun Belt foe UL-Lafayette in the season finale and Blakeney’s last act as head coach.
“Having the off week was good because it got us some extra work,” defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt said. “They are not a very complicated offensive team. They are a very good offensive team in what they do.”
Unlike Troy’s last two opponents in Georgia State and Idaho, UL-Lafayette is a run-based offense. The Cajuns are ranked 29th in the country in rushing, averaging 217.9 yards a game on the ground.
The Trojan defense, who has made their hay by stifling pass-happy offenses in their last two victories, will surely be tested by a Cajun offense lead by breakout sophomore running back Elijah McGuire and dynamic senior quarterback Terrance Broadway.
“Broadway is a dual-threat,” Bolt said. “Of course as good as they are, their offensive line is really good. They do a good job at what they do. Like most good offenses, they’re not complicated. This late in the year, you might have a wrinkle or two, but you know exactly what you’re going to get.”
Though Troy’s defense has seen a resurgence in the last two games, they have had their struggles defending the rush this year, allowing 441 yards on the ground against Appalachian State and 367 yards against Georgia.
But for senior linebacker Wayland Coleman-Dancer, the Cajuns’ rushing prowess doesn’t intimidate him, it just presents the defense an opportunity to prove themselves.
“It kind of shows what kind of defense you have,” Coleman-Dancer said. “You want to show what kind of character you have when you play those kinds of teams. They bring in a great running game and those are two great running backs. We love a challenge.”
But statistics and rankings aside, Saturday will not be a normal game for Troy.
With all of the emotion that goes with senior day and Blakeney’s last game, numbers go out the window in favor of sheer desire.
The Trojans have seen this before.
Prior to the New Mexico State game earlier this season, Troy’s future looked bleak. Then, Blakeney announced his retirement and the Trojans walked all over the Aggies.
There’s no doubt Saturday will be a stiff test. But on Blakeney’s final day, there may be room for one more magic moment.
“Things like that just happen sometimes,” Troy senior offensive lineman Terrance Jones said. “Hopefully that happens again. Lafayette is a really good team and were going to have to definitely battle and it is going to be one of the most emotional games I’ve ever played in.”

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