Trojans close out season with showdown with first place Mountaineers

Published 5:00 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

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It all comes down to this. The Troy Trojans will take on No. 25 Appalachian State in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Trojans (5-6, 3-4) are no longer competing for a berth in the conference championship game, but they still have an opportunity to push their streak of bowl eligibility to four-straight seasons.

A win over the 10-1 Mountaineers would give them just that, while a loss would end the Trojans’ postseason aspirations.

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“When you look at App State on film you see why they’re 10-1 and the Sun Belt East Division winners,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “They’re a really well-rounded football team, which is why they’re 10-1 and going to play for a conference championship. We’ve played two really good teams back-to-back here with a big challenge.”

The Trojans allowed 53 points and 598 total yards of total offense. This season, the Trojans are seventh in the conference in total defense and last in points allowed.

The Mountaineers rank second in scoring offense, averaging 35 points per game.

“It starts with their quarterback Zac Thomas, who is the unquestioned leader on that side of the ball,” Lindsey said. “He can really make plays with his arm and his feet.”

Running back Darrynton Evans comes in ranking third in the conference with 106.2 rushing yards per game with 14 touchdowns.

“He looks like an NFL guy,” Lindsey said. “I’m very impressed with the way he runs the ball both inside and outside and with how he catches the ball. He’s a complete back. They have a really solid offense and do a lot of good things with their formations and in the play-action game.”

The Trojans have played their fair share of different-looking offenses within the conference. Whether it’s the triple-option or the air raid, the Trojans have seen it all.

“We go from playing the triple option against Georgia Southern to playing Texas State, which is Air Raid like us,” defensive coordinator Brandon Hall said. “Then the next week you go back to playing a pro-style, 12-personnel like Lafayette. From week to week, there’s a constant ebb and flow. I think that’s why there’s so much, except for App and Lafayette, there’s so much parity between the rest of the schools.”

Despite being held to three points and under 400 yards of total offense against the Ragin’ Cajuns, the Trojans offense still ranks near the top of the conference in offense. They rank third, scoring 35 points per game and first in passing yards with 314 yards per game.

The Mountaineer defense has held opposing offenses to 19 points per game.

“Their coordinator Ted Roof is one of the best in the business and is very experienced,” Lindsey said. “He’s done a nice job everywhere he’s been. Being a former linebacker, you see glimpses of that in the way they play defensively. Their inside linebacker Jordan Fehr is very impressive. He leads their team in overall tackles and runs the show for them, which is exactly what you want from your inside linebacker. This whole defense plays extremely hard and is very well-coached.”

The Trojans are 3-4 all time against the Mountaineers. They are 2-2 in Troy. They won their last home game against the Mountaineers 28-24 in 2016. The Trojans fell to App State last season in Boone 21-10.

Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and it can be seen on on ESPN+.