Trojans defense steps up

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Troy Trojans went into Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern in search of answers on defense. They may have found some answers in their win over the Eagles.

The Trojan defense held down one of the conference’s top running attacks The Eagles rushed for a total of 152 yards. Leading rusher Wesley Kennedy rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries. It marked the second time this season that the running back didn’t eclipse the century mark.

“It was great seeing our defense clicking on all cylinders,” Troy linebacker Carlton Martial said. “Of course, we had some busts out there; a few of them were my fault. As a whole, we played pretty good.”

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The Trojans went into the week knowing full well what the Eagles were going to do offensively. It came down to executing the game plan and being in the right place at the right time.

“It’s pretty obvious that Georgia Southern runs the ball way more than they pass the ball,” Troy defensive lineman Will Choloh said. “We revolved our scheme around that and you saw us fully execute. We made some big plays. Coach put us in some good spots to make plays.”

The Troy defense picked up nine sacks in the win – the same amount the Eagle offense had given up all season. Marcus Webb finished with a team-high three sacks. He also had seven tackles.

“He (Werts) is a really dynamic player,” Webb said. “Containing him and making sure he doesn’t make any big plays was a goal for us this week. We had nine sacks and being able to help out with that is really good.”

“Marcus, I noticed him several times,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “I noticed the whole defense, they played with an edge, they made plays in the backfield and they played hard. They played hard and they played with passion. Brandon Hall and his staff had a great plan.”

Another player jumped on the radar last Saturday. The senior linebacker finished with four tackles and had one hit on the quarterback. AJ Smiley entered the game with four tackles on the season with single tackles against Campbell, Southern Miss, Arkansas State and South Alabama.

“He helped play bandit tonight,” Lindsey said. “He never played that position before. He worked there because we were short a couple of guys there. I thought, from what I can tell, he was really productive. He was willing to do whatever we asked him to do. He had to play on the line of scrimmage, probably not his comfort zone, and  I thought he competed his tail off and he did a nice job.”

The Trojan defense will get another test on Saturday afternoon when they travel to San Marcos to take on Texas State. The Trojans will then close out the season against the top two scoring offenses in the conference in Louisiana and Appalachian State.

Kickoff against Texas State is scheduled for 2 p.m.