Troy football looks to stay undefeated in conference play

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy football team returns to action after a bye week, facing the Georgia State Panthers in Troy’s homecoming game on Saturday.

The Panthers (1-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) roll into town after recording their first win of the season last week against the Texas State Bobcats.

The Trojans (4-1, 2-0 Sun Belt), the 17-point home favorites, boast the top scoring offense in the Sun Belt and also lead the conference in total offense. The Panthers’ defense will have its hands full trying to defend the Trojan offense.

“We’re walking into a hostile environment against a team that’s very athletic, very talented and very well-coached,” Georgia State Head Coach Trent Miles said Monday. “We will have our work cut out for us.”

Troy running back Jordan Chunn leads the Sun Belt in rushing yards with 582 and is also tied for first in rushing touchdowns with four. Handing the ball off to Chunn is junior quarterback Brandon Silvers, who is currently third in the conference in passing yards.

These two have been the centerpieces for Troy’s balanced offensive attack all season long, and look to continue their success against a Panthers defense that has struggled against the run game.

Georgia State’s defense is led by senior linebacker Alonzo McGee and junior defensive lineman Mackendy Cheridor. McGee is sixth in the Sun Belt in tackles, and Cheridor is the current Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week after recording 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against Texas State.

The Panthers have allowed an average of 262 yards rushing per game, which ranks 122nd nationally. This matchup favors the Trojans and could lead to another lopsided game in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Georgia State is a pass-first offense, and that could play right into the hands of the Troy defense. The Trojans are second in the country in interceptions, led by junior cornerback Blace Brown, who is tied for first in the nation in interceptions with four.

The Panthers’ offense is led by junior quarterback Conner Manning and senior wide receiver Robert Davis. Davis is Manning’s top target, and the two have connected 33 times for 438 yards.

“They’ve got one of the top wide receivers in the conference if not the best in Robert Davis,” said Troy Head Coach Neal Brown at Monday’s press conference.

“He can run, runs really good routes, sticks his foot in the ground and is physical. He’s as good as any receiver we’ve played this year.”

The rushing attack has been a work in progress for Georgia State this season.   The team is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, which is ninth in the conference.

Troy has been the best in the conference at stopping the run and should have no trouble with Georgia State.

The Trojans are set to put on another show for the homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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