Take three: Trojans visit Baton Rouge for showdown with LSU
Published 3:00 am Friday, September 29, 2017
The Troy Trojans look to turn heads this Saturday when they travel to “Death Valley” To take on the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.
It’s been almost nine years since Troy let a 31-3 lead slip away to the Tigers. On Saturday they hope to finish the job.
“Our team is excited; we’re going to play in one of the top venues in the country,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I’ve had the privilege to play and coach there. It’s an exciting atmosphere and our guys are looking forward to it. We’ve got to play our best game of the year. That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, just that we’ve got to play a more complete game than we have so far.”
The Trojans will take on their first nationally ranked opponent since they took on Clemson early on in the 2016 season. Ranked 25, the Tigers have been up and down over the first four weeks. They are 3-1 with their lone loss coming at the hands of Mississippi State 45-10 two weeks ago.
“LSU looks about like what you would think LSU looks like,” Brown said. “They are what they always are: one of the most athletic teams in the country.”
The Trojan defense snapped their two-week turnover drought in their win over New Mexico State. They will be going up against an offense led by Matt Canada that has just one turnover over their first four games.
The Trojans have been preparing for an offense full of surprises.
“I don’t know where to start,” said defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. “I mean they got the elite players in the country, or some of the elite players in the country at every position. They are running a style of offense that is so unique. We haven’t really seen it. It is really unique.”
The Tigers are led by quarterback Danny Etling who has thrown for 203 yards per game.
“I think [Danny] Etling is playing his best football right now,” Koenning said. “[Derrius] Guice is one of the top running backs in the country, if not the best running back.”
Guice is battling a knee injury and is questionable to play on Saturday. Guice has totaled 328 yards and 5 touchdowns so far this season. As a team, the Tigers are averaging 200 yards on the ground.
“What I think we have done a decent job with all year is playing run defense, sometimes better than others,” Koenning said. “Their running back the other night in the first half didn’t have much. He is a big joker; you talk about a big running back. He ran a lot harder in the second half than he did in the first half and got a few yards. You have to stop something. We always try to stop the run first.”
The Tiger defense is holding their opponents to less than 300 yards. Silvers, who is coming off three wins in a row is looking to make his mark in front of a national audience.
“Just going in there, I have a lot of confidence in myself and our team,” Silvers said. “Just going in there and competing with each other, it’s going to be 11 on 11 as it always is. We’re just trying to get some early points on the board and get in a rhythm – that’s going to be the biggest main aspect of the game.”
The Trojans will be going up against a big Tiger defensive front.
“They are led by one of the top defensive coordinators in the country, Coach [Dave] Aranda,” Brown said. “They’re big up front with a three-man front. They’re big and rush the edge, led by Arden Key. They’re young in the secondary, but they are talented.”
The Trojans and Tigers kick things off at 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.