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Week 12: Troy Trojans


He's almost the Suicide King.

What's there to say about Troy?  They're the best OOC team we face all year, which isn't saying much.  They sit at 6-3 on the season, and they played Ohio State pretty tough through 3 quarters early in the season.  They're 4-1 in the Sun Belt and appear destined for a bowl game.  

Troy and LSU have a common opponent:  North Texas.  We beat North Texas 41-3.  Troy beat North Texas 45-17.  Comparable.

Of Troy's 3 losses, one of them is a "good loss", having played Ohio State reasonably well.  They were blown out by Oklahoma State, which I guess when you're a Sun Belt team and Oklahoma State ends up shooting into the Top 10, you have to say that's not exactly a "bad loss".

Losing to UL-Monroe is a bad loss.  Troy did that two weeks ago, 31-30.  A QB-sack in the end zone was the difference in the game.  UL-Monroe is 3-7 on the year.  That is a bad loss.

But what do they play like?  Well, if you recall, a certain former Auburn offensive coordinator came from Troy, and he had a lot of success there.  Troy still runs his offense.  They have primarily played two quarterbacks: Levi Brown and Jamie Hampton.  Jamie Hampton took most of the snaps early in the season, but he gave way to Brown after suffering an injury midway through the season.  Brown has outplayed Hampton since taking over.

Levi Brown is completing 69% of his passes and is averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.  His TD/Int ratio is 9/2.  He also rushes for positive yards.  At the Sun Belt level, he is darn good.  On the whole, Troy averages 36 pass attempts per game, and they spread it around a lot.  No receiver is making more than 1/4 of their receptions, and seven players are averaging more than 1 reception per game.  Another 4 are close to that number as well.  Stopping their passing game will be a big challenge for our defense, which has struggled against the pass quite a bit.

Watch out for Jerrel Jernigan, who is their leading receiver with 666 yards and is also a regular in the running game, with 22 rushes for 190 yards.  

Running back DeJuan Harris carries the load for them, averaging 13 rushing attempts per game with a 5.0 yard per carry average.  He's a little guy, sort of like those Florida backs that ripped us up.

They're a team that runs a lot of plays and spreads the ball around.  They will be a challenge to stop.  I am sure our pass-rushing packages will get a lot of action on this night, and everyone on the defensive side of the ball will have to be disciplined.  Whenever you have a team like this that plays fast with the ball and throws it around a good bit, you have to make them pay for it by getting turnovers.  We have not done that much this year, but we need to look to do it here.  That's how you beat these pass-happy teams, by taking advantage of their carelessness with the ball.

When we're on offense, we should be able to rack up some points.  Of all the teams they've played this year, only Western Kentucky was unable to move the ball against them.  Everyone else has scored at least 17 points on them, and this is the Sun Belt.  We should be able to score 3 or 4 touchdowns even without passing a lick.

Bottom line: this is one of those games we win easily if we're on our game.  If we have a hangover from losing to Bama (like Bama had from losing to us last year) we could very well lose it.  Troy is a respectable team, capable of beating the big boys if the big boys aren't 100%.  I hope the team gets past this latest loss quickly, or this could be very embarrassing.  

I'm not saying it will happen, but Troy's an opponent that we need to be careful of.