Trojan football seeks to make statement at LSU on Saturday

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy Trojans will be traveling to Death Valley to take on the Tigers for the second time in two years. This year, however, it’s the LSU Tigers of Baton Rouge the Men of Troy will square off against.

After taking down the Akron Zips at home, Troy is set to finish off its non-conference schedule with a road game at LSU.

Troy senior quarterback Brandon Silvers and senior running back Jordan Chunn finally had the breakout game they were looking for against Akron. The two combined for over 450 yards of offense and a pair of touchdowns in the game.

Chunn’s 106 yards on 6.6 yards per carry were both season-highs, and he’s now fourth in the Sun Belt in rushing yards. Chunn has also been productive in catching passes out of the backfield and is second in the conference in receptions by a running back.

Junior Deondre Douglas leads a deep group of wide receivers which features five players with at least 12 catches through four games.

While the Trojans have talent across the board on offense, team discipline has been a nagging problem on the field and has been costing Troy yardage and points. Against Akron, Troy was penalized 16 times for nearly 160 yards, missed a field goal, missed an extra point and had one turnover.

The Trojans’ yards per six points, a stat used to measure team discipline, was 133.2 against the Zips. This essentially means Troy needed 133 yards of offense to score one touchdown. In comparison, Troy’s average yards per six points heading into the Akron game was 103.8.

Playing in a raucous environment, Troy will need to be sharp to move the ball against a defense that is giving up fewer than 300 total yards a game in 2017.

LSU’s offense, however, could be missing its centerpiece on Saturday. LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron said at a Monday press conference that star running back Derrius Guice has been ruled out for the game after sustaining an injury against Syracuse.

Without Guice, Troy’s defense can expect a steady dose of bruiser back Darrel Williams. So far, Williams has 251 yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada will likely use a number of other options as well. LSU wide receivers have 19 carries for 106 yards this season.

The Tigers are led by senior quarterback Danny Etling. He has been a solid game manager, leading an offense that has committed just one turnover this year. While his numbers don’t stand out, Etling rarely makes a mistake.

Heralded freshman quarterback Myles Brennan will also play as LSU moves towards a quarterback rotation. Brennan, who saw extended action against Syracuse, gives the Tiger offense a downfield passing threat.

The Troy secondary is more than up to the challenge. The last time this core group saw a Power Five opponent, Troy held Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson to a 50.9 completion percentage and picked him off twice.

Head Coach Neal Brown has seen these Tigers on the Trojans sideline before. As the Troy offensive coordinator in 2008, the Trojans hung around but ultimately fell 40-31 in Baton Rouge.

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