TROY, Ala. – What do you for an encore if you’re Troy coming off an upset win at LSU? You hope your next game goes better than it did the last time you received national attention.
Troy (4-1), which won 24-21 in Tiger Stadium on September 30, plays host to South Alabama (1-4) on Wednesday night in a Sun Belt Conference game. After the upset in Death Valley, the Trojans had a week off to prepare for their in-state rival and – perhaps more than anything – settle down.
That victory on LSU’s homecoming got Troy noticed, but that hasn’t always been a good thing for the Trojans. Last season, after beating Appalachian State to move to 8-1, Troy became the first-ever Sun Belt team to be ranked. Alas, five days later, the Trojans hosted Arkansas State on a short week and got blown out at home 35-3 on ESPN.
“Last year we had a big win against App State and turned around and got our butts whooped on by Arkansas State,” senior quarterback Brandon Silvers said. “We are turning the page and are playing South Alabama, and that is all we are focused on.”
Coach Neal Brown has told his team that another letdown can’t happen.
“We have a point to prove as a football program,” Brown said. “We did not handle the nation attention last year. Have we matured? I think that’s the challenge to our team.”
Troy’s remaining schedule provides a chance to pile up some wins, as none of the remaining seven opponents currently has a winning record. League title contender Arkansas State in the regular-season finale is the only team left that looks to pose a legit threat to the Trojans, whose only loss this season came in the opener at Boise State. The more wins for Troy, the more national attention for the program — and for Brown.
Troy and USA are the two Alabama-based teams in the Sun Belt, and USA will make the three-hour bus ride from Mobile to Troy along with what is expected to be a large contingent of fans.
“I think their students are planning on traveling. I think they’re bringing several buses up here,” Brown said. “We have to do a good job. Our fans can’t just assume that just because we’re playing at home that we’re going to have a great atmosphere.”
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