Troy offense improves

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Trojans went up to Lincoln and left with their second win over a Power 5 school in as many years on Saturday.  The offense put up 24 points in what coach Neal Brown called a “sloppy” performance.

The Trojans are still in search for a complete performance out of their offense. On Saturday, they took a step in the right direction when they posted 24 points.

Offensively, we found a way to win,” Brown said. “It was really a sloppy performance offensively.”

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Despite showing some good things, Troy players acknowledged the offense still has room to improve.

I thought we played well as a team,” said Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker. “Offensively, I think we still have some improvement to do. We’re not playing close to our potential by any means. But overall, I was really proud with the way we played and the way we kind of approached the game.”

Perhaps the most disappointing stat for Brown offensively was penalties. The Trojans finished with a total of 10 penalties for 95 yards, including four delay of game penalties.

Penalties, we have to do a better job,” Brown said. “Delay of game procedures, our quarterbacks have to manage the game better than they did on Saturday.”

There were some positives as well for the Trojans. In Nebraska’s loss to Colorado, the Cornhuskers allowed just 44 yards on the ground. This weekend, the Trojans tallied 143 yards against a physical Nebraska defense.

We had success running the football,” Brown said. “Our run stats would’ve been really good against a group that I think will have one of the better run defenses in the country if you take out the negative-yard plays.”

After going up against a leaner defensive front with Florida A&M, the Trojans offensive line led by coach Matt More prepared for the size of Nebraska.

They were huge,” Moore said. “They were big people, but I thought my guys did a good job of continuing to fight, just denting them in the running game, we did all the speed sweep motion, we were back and forth. We didn’t gain a bunch of yards on that, but what we did is it set up our big plays at the end.”

Troy quarterback Barker completed 14 of his 21 passes for 110 yards

The Trojans had 10 plays that went over 10 yards and just three that went over 20 yards. One of those plays came on the legs of backup quarterback Sawyer Smith who took a quarterback keeper 57 yards to set up a touchdown.

“I think it was more them (Nebraska) respecting the running backs over me, which is reasonable,” Smith said. “I don’t know – the defensive end crashed down, and I kind of saw a gap and took it. I ran out of gas on about the 4-yard line and got caught. It was a big play, it was fun.”

The Trojans take on Louisiana Monroe this Saturday. The Warhawks have allowed 33 points per game through their first three games of the year.

I think they are a really improved unit,” Brown said. “They fly around and play with tons of energy. Up front they have [Sam Miller] and [Donald Louis, Jr.] who are really active second effort guys. They have two linebackers that remind me of Tron [Folsom] in [David Griffith] and [Cortez Sisco, Jr.]; they are undersized, but they make a ton of plays.”