Troy opens Sun Belt Conference play Saturday at home
TROY, Ala. (troytrojans.com) — Kickoff between the Trojans and Aggies is set for 6:04 p.m. and tickets are available by visiting TroyTrojans.com/Tickets. The Troy Sports Radio Network will have full coverage beginning at 4 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Troy (2-1) enters Saturday’s contest coming off a 37-31 victory at C-USA West Division favorite Southern Miss last weekend. The weekend prior, Troy took No. 2 Clemson to brink of a major upset as the Tigers escaped the game in Death Valley 30-24.
Junior running back Jordan Chunn has led the Trojan offense over the opening three weeks to the tune of 381 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns; his rushing tally is the most in school history after three games. Chunn ranks ninth nationally with 127.0 yards per game, while the Trojans are 25th nationally on the ground with 236.7 yards per game.
Quarterback Brandon Silvers is also off to a solid start with seven touchdown passes and just three interceptions through three games. Deondre Douglas and Emanuel Thompson are responsible for five of the touchdown catches and 53.8 percent of Troy’s receptions on the year.
A win over New Mexico State (1-2) would give Troy three wins in the first four games of the season for the first time in the school’s Football Bowl Subdivision history; Troy opened the 2000 season 10-1 in its final year as a member of the Football Championship Subdivision.
A big part of Troy’s early season success has been the play of the defense, especially the Trojans’ ability to force turnovers. Troy ranks 10th nationally with five interceptions on the year and 13th with seven total turnovers forced.
Linebacker William Lloyd leads the Trojans with 16 tackles on the year, while Kris Weatherspoon has 2.5 tackles for loss and three pass break ups. As a unit, Troy ranks fifth nationally with 22 passes defended.
The Aggies were tied with Kentucky, 35-35, at the half last weekend before the Wildcats pulled away for a 62-42 victory. New Mexico State comes into the game averaging 32.0 points per game and will get a boost with the return of Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Larry Rose III at running back. However, the Aggies have struggled defensively allowing 43.7 points and 297.0 rushing yards per game.
“I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence now after the last two weeks,” head coach Neal Brown said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got energy going into the game so that’s up to the coaching staff, but our guys will be playing with a lot of confidence. I think as a coaching staff we have more confidence because we know what to expect now. Our guys have answered the bell so to speak. We’ll be confident, we’ve just got to make sure physically that we’re ready to play.”
• Troy’s offensive line has allowed just one sack this season and just four sacks over the last nine games and 298 pass attempts.
• Troy forced Southern Miss into a three-and-out on nine of its drives last week; the Golden Eagles had just three three-and-outs in their first two games of the season. Troy has forced opponents into three-and-outs on 45.7 percent of their drives.
• Troy has won 55 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 just one of 23 teams to score on each of their trips into the red zone this season; Troy has scored touchdowns on 6-of-7 trips and kicked a field goal on the other.
• Deondre Douglas is tied for second nationally with a pair of first down catches on fourth down, while his 34-yard touchdown receptions at Southern Miss is the sixth longest reception nationally on fourth down this season. Douglas is one of just two players nationally (Austin Duke, Charlotte) to have a pair of catches of 15+ yards on fourth down this season.