Trojans open season against MTSU

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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At long last the Troy Trojan football team will kick off their season on Saturday afternoon. The Trojans will rekindle and old rivalry when they take on former Sun Belt Conference foe Middle Tennessee State in Murphreesboro.

Troy will be the only team in the state of Alabama to play on Saturday. Troy along with Georgia State are the last Sun Belt Teams to see action in 2020.

“We’re excited that it’s finally game week and it seems like we’ve been waiting on this week to arrive for a long time,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “Our players had a lot of energy in our first practice Sunday, and they’re looking forward to Saturday afternoon. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then but it’s exciting and surreal to finally be in game week.”

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Its been a long offseason for the Trojans, having to adjust to the new protocols and guidelines, while at the same trying to come up with a schedule for the season.

“I want to thank our administration and our medical staff because they’ve done an outstanding job of helping us navigate all of the protocols and guidelines,” Lindsey said. “The health of our players and staff is our number one priority. I’ve been impressed with how our medical staff has laid out a plan, and how well our players and staff were able to follow it. I’m excited about our 2020 team and I’m pleased with how our team has come together.”

The Trojans were initially supposed to start the season against Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but after that game was canceled, Troy scheduled conference foe Lousisiana Monroe for a game that was supposed to be played last Saturday. The game was later postponed to the final Saturday of the regular season. The Trojans made sure to use the extra time to their advantage.

“The biggest thing we did was get healthy,” Lindsey said. “We had some nagging injuries that went away. I think our players will be fresh on Saturday, but there’s a fine line between being fresh and not being in game shape.”

The Trojans will play their first game against a Middle Tennessee team that already has a game under their belt. The Trojans feel they are in shape. Instead of playing meaningful games, the Trojans have spent their time scrimmaging and running through various in-game scenarios.

“We’ve been able to scrimmage and practice several times and hit all of the different game scenarios (red zone, third down, sudden change) a couple of times which was good,” Lindsey said. “We tried to take what was a negative [the opener being delayed] and turned it into a positive. We spent a bit of time on Middle Tennessee last week before fully switching this week. College football really comes down to who you are and how well you can execute your game plan. If we execute in all three phases of the game, we’ll have a chance to win the game.” 

The Blue Raiders fell to Army in their first game of the season, 42-0. Middle Tennessee is a team that Lindsey is very familiar with from his time as a Troy assistant coach.

“I’m familiar with Middle Tennessee,” Lindsey said. “I remember when we used to play them when I was an assistant here at Troy, and then we also played them when I was at Southern Miss. Coach Stockstill has been the head coach there since 2006, which says a lot about him and what he has done there. It’s a matchup of two good football teams with good people involved on both sides.”

The Trojans and Raiders last met during the 2012 season. Middle Tennessee got the win and has kept the Palladium Trophy ever since. The two teams have met 12 times with the Trojans holding an 8-4 advantage.

“They’re an old Sun Belt rival so it’s a good fit for us,” Lindsey said. “We have a ton of respect for their program and we look forward to fighting for the Palladium trophy on Saturday.”

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN2.