Notebook: Five Things: Old and new talent lifts Trojans to win over Campbell.

Published 4:32 pm Monday, September 2, 2019

The Trojans began the 2019 on a high note when they knocked off Campbell 43-14 on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Familiar faces played a key role in the win, but new players made an immediate impact in offense, defense and special teams.

Welcome back Kaleb Barker: Kaleb Barker returned to the Trojan offense for the first time since October 4, when he injured his knee against Georgia State. Caleb got off to a hot start for the Trojans and finished 18-29 with two touchdown passes.

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His first touchdown was the longest of his career, a 61-yard touchdown to Reggie Todd.

“It should have been more,” Barker said. “I was pretty emotional coming over to Trojan Walk, feeling I was glad to be back and it’s time to go.”

It was the third time Barker had surgery on an injured knee. He admitted this time it was a different procedure with a different type of rehab.

“I believe the doctor got it fixed this time,” Barker said. “I am feeling great, all glory to God. I am blessed to be able to still play this game.”

Barker and the offense enjoyed a fast start in the game, one that started with a 40-yard run by B.J. Smith. After two possessions, the Trojans led 10-0.

“In those first games you have the jitters,” Barker said. “It’s easier playing when you’re ahead. To get a field goal and turn around quick and be up 10-0, that was huge.”

Carlton Martial picks up where he left off: The sophomore linebacker, who took the defense by storm last season, got his season off to a great start against the Camels. Martial totaled 13 tackles, nine more than the next closest Trojan defender. For his efforts, Martial was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

“Really it was the defensive linemen that opened it up for me,” Martial said. “They made it easy for me to roam around. I am thankful for them.”

The 13 tackles was a career high for Martial on Saturday. It was the first time that head coach Chip Lindsey saw Martial in game action.

“It was just like practice,” Lindsey said. “I was really impressed with him, seeing him in game action for the first time. Standing over there watching him, he is around the ball all the time. He has great instincts.”


212: That is the number of yards that Troy’s two new receivers combined for in Troy’s win on Saturday. Newcomers Kaylon Geiger and Reggie Todd became the first tandem to get over 100 receiving yards in the same game since the 2017 New Orleans Bowl when Damion Willis and Tevaris McCormick accomplished the same feat. Geiger hauled in five catches for 104 yards, while Todd accumulated three catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

“It was an awesome experience,” Geiger said. “We all have the same goal to do what we can do to get a ring. I feel like we can be very dangerous. We can do some crazy things here.”

“Geiger is obviously a new guy we just got,” Lindsey said. “He had five catches, which is really good. Reggie played well like we thought he would. When we are playing really good on offense, you will see multiple guys catch balls for us.”


B.J. Smith starts strong: After taking the first play from scrimmage 40 yards to set up a field goal opportunity, Smith finished the game with 108 yards on 10 carries. It was the sixth time in his career that he broke the century mark. Smith rushed for 100 yards for five consecutive games last season.

“It feels good,” Smith said. “We talk about all the time that if we can run the ball, we are going to be successful. We did good at that today.”

The Trojans finished with 245 yards on the ground. DK Billingsley finished with 86 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m really pleased with our running backs,” Lindsey said. “B.J. led us and I was really pleased with him and BK.”


Hurry up to wait: After much buildup and excitement for the opening week, the Trojans will have their first of two bye weeks before returning to action against Southern Miss on September 14.  It’s uncharted territory for both Lindsey and the Trojans.

“I have never done it before,” Lindsey said. “I think this year is different in college football. A lot of time coaches will tell you, you make your biggest improvements between week one and week two. If that’s the case, we should double that going into week three. It’s an opportunity for guys with bumps and bruises today to get themselves back to feeling good. Hopefully we will get together and get a plan ready for a really good Southern Miss team.”