The Troy football team (5-5) plays the role of underdog when it faces Ole Miss on the road this Saturday in Oxford.
The Trojans will have to rely on stellar defense from players like sophomore defensive end Tyler Roberts who was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his dominant play on Thursday night.
Despite the 41-36 road loss to Louisiana-Lafayette last week, Roberts was a force accounting for two sacks, three tackles for loss, causing a fumble and seven tackles.
One benefit that the Trojans have not taken for granted is this opportunity to play on a Saturday, and because of this, the team and head coach Larry Blakeney are glad to get back on a normal practice schedule.
“We finally got a regular week,” Blakeney said. “This is Monday-Monday, it’s actually Monday; we call it Monday.”
However, the team knows that this is a short-lived relief, as the next game will be played after Thanksgiving on Black Friday.
“We’re going to try to produce a plan here today and the rest of the week and go compete as hard as we can compete against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Miss.,” Blakeney said. “It’s a great SEC university and a good football team. It will be a challenge for us to compete with them.”
Atop the challenge of playing an SEC team in general, the Trojans are faced with the added difficulty of facing them later in the season; however, Blakeney is comfortable with this slot, as he has often used it to fill a November opening against an SEC program.
“We get opportunities to play them for a guarantee,” Blakeney said. “We’ve played pretty well against some of the teams we’ve been playing in that slot so there is no reason to think this team won’t.”
Senior quarterback Corey Robinson comes into this game knowing that his team isn’t expected to win, but knowing that has been just as much of an encouragement as a discouragement.
“We have to go out there and make some stuff happen that’s not supposed to,” Robinson said.
He comes into this game looking at it as one of two opportunities he has left to get a sixth win of the season. Be it this week or next, Robinson has his sights set.
Other key players like senior wide receiver Eric Thomas agree that the Trojans should see this game as they do any other.
“We’re just going to run the plays we normally run,” Thomas said. “We need to execute and score every time that we get the ball.”
The game in Oxford kicks off at 11 a.m. and is televised on ESPNU.