Notebook: Mistakes cost Trojans in loss

Published 9:57 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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The Troy Trojans dropped their second consecutive game on Saturday when they fell to South Carolina 23-14.

The Trojans fell to 2-3 on the year with the loss. They get back into conference play and return home on Saturday to take on Georgia Southern.

On Tuesday, head coach Chip Lindsey reviewed Saturday’s loss to the Gamecocks and looked ahead to Troy’s game against the Eagles.

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Mistakes prove costly: There were a total of seven turnovers in Saturday’s game, four of which were committed by the Trojans.

The biggest turnover, perhaps, came in the fourth quarter when the Trojans had the ball around midfield trailing by six at 20-14. Reggie Todd hauled in a Taylor Powell pass, but had the ball stripped away.

“The key to the game was obviously the turnovers,” Lindsey said. “We have to find a solution to that and we are working through that as we speak. The fumble at the end that we thought we recovered, but it went against us, we were driving to score to take the lead, it was a big blow for sure.”

Powell has an interception returned for a touchdown: Late in the second quarter, the Trojans had possession inside the Gamecock 25 yard-line looking to tie or take the lead heading into halftime. Powell threw a pass that was intercepted and returned 74 yards for a touchdown, sending the game into halftime with the Trojans trailing 17-14.

It marked the second straight game that Powell had an interception returned for a touchdown.

“The first interception at ULM, the kid caught it and it got popped up in the air and they ruled it an interception,” Lindsey said. “It was good decision, just unfortunate. The second one was just an errant throw. He was open, a good decision, just a poor throw. Unfortunately for us there was a guy standing right behind him and the ball fell right in his arm. I don’t think either one of those was him forcing anything. Guys were open; both decisions were fine. It was just bad luck there.”

Trojan offense held under 20 points: For the third time this season the Troy offense failed to score more than 20 points. They are averaging 23 points per game.

“We need some explosive plays to show up,” Lindsey said. “We have struggled running the football which hurts you throwing the ball down field. When you’re the quarterback you get too much credit and too much blame. We have to protect him; he has been hit a lot. That is something that affects you sitting in there and throwing the football and read things out.

“We are still struggling to find that right mix of consistency. I think once we do that we will have the opportunity to score more points.”

Running game takes a step in the right direction: Troy senior B.J. Smith became the first Trojan to rush for more than 100 yards this season when he rushed for 104 yard on 19 carries on Saturday afternoon. In doing so, Smith became the 12th Trojan to rush for 2,000 in his career. His 35-yard touchdown run briefly gave the Trojans a 7-3 lead. Jamontez Woods added 49 yards on nine carries and also had a touchdown.

“During the game I had a smile on my face watching him (Smith) run,” Lindsey said. “All that kid has been through to fight to get back. He got back somewhat healthy and got banged up again. It was good for it to pay back and for him to get over 100 yards rushing. I was really pleased with his performance. We need him to continue that, especially with Kimani being down.”

Competition for tackles: KJ Robertson led the Trojans with nine tackles on Saturday. The nine tackles gives him 24 on the year, 13 shy of the team lead which is held by Carlton Martial.

Robertson admitted that there is a competition to rack up the most tackles this season.

“He (Martial) is a ball hawk and he does crazy stuff that everybody loves to see him do,” Robertson said. “I try to take it from him. I love him making plays and I get excited, but I try to take them too. We have to remember we have a headhunter in Jayden McDonald. When he turns it on he completely changes the game.

“It’s fun and it’s a little bit of a competition between us. I definitely want to win that. I would love to finally say that I have more tackles than Carlton Martial one day.”

Looking ahead: The Trojans return home to take on Georgia Southern on Saturday evening. It will be Troy’s first home game since week two on Sept. 11. The Trojans and the Eagles will meet for the 21st time on Saturday. The Trojans own a 13-7 overall lead in the series and they have won six of the nine meetings at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“Looking forward to this week with Georgia Southern here at home,” Lindsey said. “Been on the road for three straight weeks, so obviously it’s exciting for us to get back in the Vet and play at home.”

The game is set for 6 p.m. and it can be seen on ESPN+.