Troy football preps for Homecoming & Georgia State Saturday

TROY, Ala.  (troytrojans.com)  – Following a bye week and a 2,500-mile trip across the country, Troy will hit the turf of Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday as the Trojans play host to Georgia State on Homecoming.

Kickoff between the Trojans and Panthers in the Sun Belt clash is set for 2:34 p.m. and tickets are available by visiting TroyTrojans.com/Tickets. The Troy Sports Radio Network will have full coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

Troy (4-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) continued its best start to an FBS season in school history with a 34-13 victory at Idaho two weeks ago. The Trojans fell behind 6-0 after two possessions, but quickly thwarted any hopes of a Vandal victory by building a 21-6 lead at halftime.

The Trojans have outscored their opponents 116-50 in the first half of games this season and 52-6 in their two Sun Belt Conference games.

It’s not easy to pinpoint a single reason for Troy’s early triumphs as the Trojans have success stories in all three phases of the game.

Offensively, Jordan Chunn leads the Sun Belt and ranks 12th nationally with 116.4 rushing yards per game, while Brandon Silvers leads the league and ranks 27th nationally with 12 touchdown passes in Troy’s opening five games.

The Trojans lead the Sun Belt and check in 18th nationally with 40.8 points per game, while ranking second in the league in rushing (214.8) and first in total offense (484.6). Troy leads the country with just one sack allowed on the year, while its scoring average is 18th best and total offense is 25th best nationally.

On the other side of the ball, Blace Brown leads the country with four interceptions, while Cedarius Rookard and Jalen Rountree are 37th nationally with two picks on the year. The Trojans lead the country with 2.4 interceptions per game, while ranking third in red zone defense (61.1). ninth in turnovers forced (14), 10th in third-down defense (27.4) and 25th in scoring defense (19.4).

Special teams have also proven to be key to Troy’s play this year as the Trojans are third nationally in kickoff returns – led by Jabir Frye – averaging 30.0 yards per return. Additionally, Troy is 11th nationally in kickoff return defense (16.7) and 19th in punt returns (13.6).

Georgia State (1-4, 1-1) enters this weekend’s game coming off a 41-21 victory over Texas State; quarterback Conner Manning completed 27-of-40 passes for 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory. The Panthers have fared well despite their record with a 6-point loss at No. 9 Wisconsin and a 14-point setback to preseason Sun Belt favorite Appalachian State two weeks ago.

The Panthers are one of the best in the country against the pass as they rank 14th nationally allowing opponents just 170.6 passing yards per game; however, teams have rushed for 262.8 yards per game. Both numbers are slightly skewed as Air Force rushed 83 times for 464 yards and attempted just nine passes against the Panthers.

Quotable

“They bought in the Idaho and Southern Miss weeks, but each week is brand new,” head coach Neal Brown said. “We are to be determined for this week. We brought them in and had an academic meeting (Monday) and tried to set the tone for the week. The tone is we have to get better. This is going to be the best team we played in our conference so far, and by far the best defensive team we have played in our league so far. We have to be ready to answer the bell. That’s what separates pretenders form contenders. Pretenders have a lot of highs and lows and contenders are real solid each and every week.”

Notable

  • Troy’s offensive line has allowed just one sack this season and just four sacks over the last 11 games and 377 pass attempts.
  • Jordan Chunn enters the game just nine rushing touchdowns shy of tying Joe Jackson for the Troy all-time record with 34.
  • Troy has won 57 Sun Belt Conference games since joining the league in 2004; that is the most wins in the conference over that time period.
  • The Trojans are averaging 446.2 yards per game over their last 11 contests dating back to last season. In the first six games of the 2015 season, Troy averaged just 305.7 yards per game.
  • The Trojans are aiming for their first 3-0 start to Sun Belt Conference play since 2010 when they opened 3-0 en route to a 6-2 conference finish. Troy has also opened Sun Belt play 3-0 in 2009 (8-0), 2008 (6-1), 2007 (6-1) and 2006 (6-1) – the Trojans won the Sun Belt championship each of those five seasons.
  • The Trojans are also aiming to open their home slate with three straight victories for the second time in the past four years; the Trojans opened the 2013 home schedule with victories over UAB, Savannah State and South Alabama.

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