After sealing the win in Monroe, Louisiana last week 35-27, the Troy football team now looks to defeat Coastal Carolina, the first conference foe to appear at Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2018.
Both teams sit at 3-1 and have emerged as early season favorites in the conference.
Coastal Carolina, fresh off a two-point win against Louisiana-Lafayette, will come to Troy with the No. 9 rushing offense in the country according to ESPN.com. The Chanticleers have averaged 266.5 rushing yards-per-game, in large part to senior running back Marcus Outlow who is averaging 5.1 yards-per-carry.
Despite the Trojan defense being ranked 89th by ESPN.com, Troy only allows 141 rushing-yards-per-game. While this stat will need improvement as the season progresses, it is well under what Coastal Carolina has maintained so far in the 2018 campaign.
The Chanticleers run-pass option scheme will give Outlow and company plenty of carries to work with as the Trojan defense draws up a scheme to stop it.
As a result, The Trojan defense will be given the opportunity to step up and solidify itself as a dominant defense of years past.
The Trojans are by no means short on quality running backs either. Junior running back B.J. Smith has emerged as a red zone threat with four touchdowns on the year, while redshirt sophomore Jabir-Daughtry-Frye has averaged 7.1 yards-per-carry.
In the Chanticleers only loss, it gave up 263 rushing yards to South Carolina. The running game only managed 126 yards on the ground and 238 yards in total yards. Coastal would only post 15 points in the game.
Troy must look to establish the run early so Junior quarterback Kaleb Barker can open up the field for big play receivers Deondre Douglas and Damion Willis, both of which are averaging over 10- yards per catch.
Barker’s strong play is directly correlated to the Trojans 3-1 start. The first-year starter has warmed up to his role in the offense throwing for seven touchdowns and just two interceptions.
In just his third start, the junior helped the Trojans win their first game against Nebraska in program history. Barker also was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week on Monday for his four touchdowns and 323 total yard outing against ULM.
Troy will need a defensive effort much like the first half against ULM. The Chanticleers have only thrown the ball 70 times for 706 total yards. This is good for 103rd in the country according to ESPN.com.
Despite the low attempts, Coastal has maintained a 70% completion percentage and is only one of 11 teams to average over 10 yards per attempt.
Coastal’s fifth-year quarterback, Kilton Anderson, has led Coastal to a solid record, but Troy has improved its defense in each game following the season’s opening loss to Boise State.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.