FACTS & STATS: Site: Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000) — Troy, Alabama.
Television: None. Home Record: ASU 1-2, Troy 1-2. Away Record: ASU 0-3, Troy
0-3. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, Troy 0-0. Conference Record: ASU 0-2, Troy 1-1.
Series Record: Troy leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Following an emotional victory over New Mexico State last weekend,
the Troy Trojans will try to add to their win total when they face the
Appalachian State Mountaineers in Sun Belt Conference play at Veterans
Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In their first game since head coach Larry Blakeney announced his intentions
to retire following the season, the Trojans rolled to a 42-24 triumph over the
Aggies. The win was the first in six tries for the Trojans, who play three of
their next four games on the road.
Last weekend, Appalachian State locked horns with a foe from its FCS days and
fell short in a 55-48 overtime setback against Liberty. The loss was the
fourth straight and fifth in six games overall for the Mountaineers.
These teams have met just once before with Troy earning a 42-0 victory in the
final game of the 1970 season.
The Mountaineers made the climb to the FBS ranks this season and the newcomers
have certainly suffered the expected growing pains. However, the predominant
issue has not been the offense, as Appalachian State ranks fourth in the Sun
Belt in average yards gained (439) and third in scoring (30.5 ppg).
Quarterback Taylor Lamb had his most productive game of the season against
Liberty, setting season-highs in passing yards (397) and touchdowns (three).
However, he was also picked off twice, bringing his season total to six.
Overall, Lamb has had been inconsistent, tallying only three 200-yard games as
well as tossing eight touchdown passes. He has thrown for a total of 1,232
yards on 60.5 percent passing.
Marcus Cox and Terrence Upshaw carried the load, literally, against Liberty,
with the duo combining for 222 yards and two scores on 32 carries. Cox (446
yards, six TDs) has three 100-yard games this season and leads the team in
attempts, yards and scores. Upshaw (348 yards, two TDs) works in well as a
second option and Lamb (238 yards, TD) is good for a few yards on the ground
Simms McElfresh (30 receptions, 337 yards, five TDs) anchors the receiving
corps as the team leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He had 89 yards
and a score against Liberty. Malachi Jones (22 receptions, 312 yards, two TDs)
is the next best target. He had a team-high 105 yards on five grabs against
Obviously, the Mountaineers still have a lot of work to do on defense if they
hope to become a consistent contender in the Sun Belt. Appalachian State is
near the middle of the Sun Belt pack in yards allowed (427.2 ypg), but it is
allowing 32.8 ppg while giving up touchdowns on 85 percent of visits to the
red zone by the opposition.
Doug Middleton (42 tackles, three INTs) and Joel Ross (26 tackles, three INTs)
have done their part, jumping on opportunities to create turnovers.
Prior to the win over New Mexico State, the Trojans had scored a total of 82
points. They are still next-to-last in the Sun Belt in total offense (370.5
ypg) and points scored (20.5 ppg), but the showing last weekend was a positive
Brandon Silvers did it all for the Trojans in the victory, as he completed 23-
of-30 pass attempts for 211 yards and a score, while adding 70 yards and a
touchdown on the ground. Silvers only has 990 yards and five passing
touchdowns this season, but he has thrown for more than 200 yards in each of
the last two games after failing to do so in the previous three.
Brandon Burks and Jordan Chunn helped out in the victory as well, with the
former providing the yardage and the latter taking care of the scoring. Burks
rushed for a season-high of 176 yards on 10 carries, while Chunn found the end
zone twice, despite tallying only 29 yards. That has been the norm for the
duo, with Burks having 290 yards and a touchdown compared to Chunn’s 159 yards
and four scores. Burks has 157 yards and a touchdown on 17 receptions as well.
Chandler Worthy (24 receptions, 301 yards, three TDs) is the best receiver on
the roster and the only one with more than 20 receptions and 300 yards. Worthy
also makes plays on special teams, which he proved against New Mexico State,
adding an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Troy has to improve defensively as it tries to match effort with its sudden
offensive rebirth. The Trojans are ninth in the league in scoring defense
(38.7 ppg) and seventh in total defense (455.7 ypg). They also have only 12
sacks and have not made a stop in the red zone yet.
Montres Kitchens (42 tackles, four INTs), Jamal Stadom (33 tackles, 4.0 sacks)
and Femi Odaibo (21 tackles, three INTs) are the defensive standouts on the
Blakeney’s announcement may have been perfectly timed if it continues to
motivate his squad. However, emotion can only do so much. The Trojans should
be fine in this contest against a still developing Appalachian State program,
but may have some trouble going forward.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 35, Appalachian State 30