Football preps for last road games

Scott Shelton

Staff Writer

Troy football will play the Texas State Bobcats on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas, in a pivotal Sun Belt Conference matchup for both teams. 

Troy (4-5, 2-3) comes into the game following a victory over Georgia Southern that could play crucial in the East division standings with three weeks remaining in the season.

The division crown might not be within reach for the Trojans, but there is still a lot to play for, including bowl eligibility.

Texas State (3-6, 2-3) comes into the game following a victory over South Alabama in a win that kept the Bobcats’ bowl hopes alive. The Bobcats have not been to a bowl since becoming an FBS member in 2013.

“They’re a very well-coached team,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “We need to have a great week of practice and be ready to go.

“Our team has to approach it one day at a time and one week at a time. We need to focus on what we control.”

Troy and Texas State have met nine times since 1998. The Trojans have won eight of the matchups and have won seven straight over the Bobcats.

One question for the Bobcats this weekend will be injuries to key players on offense.

Junior quarterback Gresch Jensen started the first six games of the season and threw for nearly 1300 yards and five touchdowns, but he has missed the last three games because of a concussion suffered against Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 10.

Starting in his place is sophomore Tyler Vitt, who played against Troy in last season’s game and threw five interceptions in a 12-7 loss for the Bobcats.

Since taking the reins at quarterback this season, Vitt has thrown for 725 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

In last Saturday’s win over South Alabama, Vitt threw for 373 yards, which placed him ninth among all FBS quarterbacks in passing yards last week.

Another key injury for the Bobcats is junior running back Caleb Twyford, who did not play against South Alabama due to an undisclosed injury.

Twyford leads the Bobcats in rushing with 457 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The junior also has 23 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown too.

Despite Twyford’s absence, the Bobcats took care of business offensively through the air.

With a rushing offense ranked 129th nationally, the passing game might be the answer for Texas State on Saturday. 

Texas State ranks 54th nationally in passing offense with 242.6 yards per game. Troy ranks 111th nationally in passing yards allowed at 264.6 yards per game. 

Another matchup to watch will be the opposite: Troy’s passing game versus Texas State’s secondary.

Senior quarterback Kaleb Barker, in his senior campaign, is ranked seventh nationally in passing yards per game, averaging about 312 yards per contest.

Barker has thrown for over 300 yards five times this season, and his 24 passing touchdowns rank ninth nationally.

Barker and the offense will face a Texas State secondary which ranks 18th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference in passing yards allowed at just 186 yards per game.

Five different Bobcats on defense have recorded an interception this season, and sophomore Jarron Morris and senior Jashon Waddy have two picks this season.

The game starts at 2 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN3 and broadcast on the Troy Sports Radio Network.

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