Trojans looking for statement win over Golden Eagles

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 16, 2016

Troy linebacker Justin Lucas (13) tackles Austin Peay's Kyran Moore (3) during the first half of NCAA college football game in Troy, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

Troy linebacker Justin Lucas (13) tackles Austin Peay’s Kyran Moore (3) during the first half of NCAA college football game in Troy, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

The Troy Trojans hit the road to take on the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Saturday.

“It’s our third out of conference game,” junior quarterback Brandon Silvers said. “We have four straight conference games until UMASS game. If we can win this game we can have a lot of confidence going into conference play.”

Troy is 1-1, coming off a strong game against No. 2 Clemson. The Eagles are 2-0, including a 44-35 win over Kentucky to open the season.

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We’ve got a big challenge this week with Southern Miss,” said Trojans head coach Neal Brown. “They were Conference USA runner up last year. They are playing with a lot of confidence, beating Kentucky in the season opener. They are 2-0 and have a lot of returners coming back off that runner up team last year that went to a bowl.”

The Trojans will be tasked with stopping an offense that has averaged over 550 yards on offense in the first two weeks.

“They are talented. They played at a really high level last year and they got a lot of those weapons back,” Brown said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get pressure on the quarterback, and then we’ve got to stop their running back. I think everything starts on their offense with Ito Smith at running back.”

The USM offense will be familiar to Troy. “(It’s) similar styles to what we run … I’m impressed with the schemes they are doing, especially running the football. They are doing some creative things.”

The center Tom Cameron is “a dominant player up front,” Brown said.

The Trojan offense compiled 386 yards last week. Sophomore Deondre Douglas had a career game hauling in 11 receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

“He (Douglas) was our best receiver the whole fall camp,” Brown said. “So, I’m not surprised at his production at all.”

The Eagles defense has allowed on average 17 points per game and 225 total yards.

“Defensively they are really aggressive,” Brown said. “Jay Hopson, their head coach, is a defensive guy; they play with a lot of team speed. They’ve got an edge about them defensively and you see that a lot from defensive minded head coaches.”

The Trojans are 1-7 all time against the Golden Eagles.

“Overall I think this is a great game for us,” Brown said. “This is a series that I would like to see continue. They come back here on the flip side (in 2019) …It is a game that our fans really enjoy. I’m expecting a lot of Troy faithful to turn up in Hattiesburg, and for me this is a measuring stick to where we are at as a program.”

Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday at Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg Mississippi.