Troy travels to Louisiana for conference crash

Published 12:38 pm Friday, November 4, 2022

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The Troy Trojans (6-2, 4-1) football team is on the road this week for a Sun Belt Conference clash with the reigning SBC Champion Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (4-4, 2-3).

Troy is coming off a much-needed bye week after defeating rival South Alabama back on Oct. 20 to take first place in the Sun Belt West. The win also marked Troy’s fifth straight win of the season, the first time the Trojans have had that long of a winning streak since 2018. A win on Saturday would mark the first six-game winning streak the Trojans have had since 2017.

Louisiana is coming off a 39-24 loss to Southern Miss last Thursday after picking up back-to-back wins over South Alabama and Marshall the previous two weeks. While Louisiana is the reigning Sun Belt Champions, they’ve struggled at times this season. Still, Troy coach Jon Sumrall knows just how dangerous the Ragin’ Cajuns can be.

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“They’ve been the class of the West in the last several years and top team in the league,” Sumrall said. “They’ve lost a couple of close games and still have a really talented team and are still a really good challenge for our guys to get better for.

“I tell our team all the time, I’m pretty good at helping them be humble, I remind them almost every day that we are good enough to beat anyone we play and bad enough to lose to anyone we play. I talk to our guys a lot of about running the race the right way, don’t worry about the prize. Don’t worry about what comes eight weeks from here, that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is if we have the best day today and do that tomorrow and so on. You can’t worry about things that are too far out ahead of you. That’s how you get beat.”

Troy will get back both tight end Deyunkrea Lewis and cornerback Caleb Ransaw from injury this week, but linebacker Jayden McDonald, defensive lineman Luis Medina and receiver Jabre Barber will be out.

The quarterback position is still in question. Both Jarret Doege and Gunnar Watson have earned starts the past two games and both has replaced the other in those games. Sumrall has not given any who will start on Saturday either.

“The same two guys get the reps with the ones and twos. We’ll start one of them and if he plays good, he’ll play the whole game. If he doesn’t play good, the other guy will play,” Sumrall said with a smile.

Louisiana, on the other hand, seems to have settled on junior quarterback Ben Wooldridge. The 6-foot-3-inch California native has started the last four games and has thrown for 1,006 yards and 10 touchdowns to just one interception during that span. His favorite target has been 6-foot-4-inch, 205-pound Mobile native Michael Jefferson, who has hauled in 30 passes for 566 yards and five touchdowns in eight games.

On defense, senior safety Bralen Trahan has been a game wrecker tallying 50 tackles, a tackle-for-loss and three interceptions, which ranks second in the conference.

Troy trails the all-time series with Louisiana and the game has not been kind to the Trojans in recent years. Troy is on a two-game losing streak to the Cajuns, dropping last season’s game 35-21 and the 2019 game by a score of 53-3.

Troy and Louisiana will kickoff at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Cajun Field in Lafayette, La., in a game that will stream live on ESPN+.