CFN Take: Troy, Silvers Get By Idaho
2014 Troy Trojans ...
Head Coach: Larry Blakeney
Nov. 15 Troy 34, at Idaho 17
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 30 at UAB L 48-10
Sep. 6 Duke L 34-17
Sep. 13 Ab Christian L 38-35
Sep. 20 at Georgia L 66-0
Sep. 27 at ULM L 22-20
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 NMSU 41-24
Oct. 18 Appalachian St L 53-14
Oct. 25 at So Alabama L 27-13
Nov. 1 at Ga Southern L 42-10
Nov. 8 Georgia State W 45-21
Nov. 15 at Idaho W 34-17
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 Louisiana-Lafayette
And You Care Because … Brandon Silvers threw two touchdown passes to Bryan Holmes from 41 and 51 yards out, and Jordan Chunn ran for a 13-yard touchdown to give Troy the 24-17 first half lead. The Trojan defense clamped down getting a 28-yard Montres Kitchens pick six and not allowing a point in the second. Idaho managed a 64-yard Joshua McCain touchdown catch and a one-yard Jerrrel Brown scoring dash to keep it up in the first half, but the O sputtered and made too many mistakes in the second.
What Else? Time of possession: Troy 38:45 – Idaho 21:15
- Troy RB Jordan Chunn ran 28 times for 193 yards and a score
- Idaho QB Matt Linehan completed 14-of-36 passes for 269 yards and a score with three interceptions
- Trot QB Brandon Silvers completed 19-of-25 passes for 231 yards and a score
Game Rating: C-
Nov. 8 at Troy 45, Georgia State 21
And You Care Because … With the game tied at seven, Troy took control with Brandon Burks running for a three-yard score and Brandon Silvers throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Holmes and running for a 38-yard touchdown on the way to a 28-7 lead. After GSU got within 14 on a Lynquez Blair catch, Troy was at it again with 24 straight points with Jordan Chunn and Khary Franklin each running for touchdowns.
What Else? Troy QB Brandon Silvers completed 17-of-21 passes for 111 yards and ran five times for 54 yards and a score
- Georgia State QB Nick Arbuckle completed 23-of-37 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns with two picks
- Troy RB Brandon Burks ran 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown
- Fourth down conversions: Troy 3-of-3 – Georgia State 1-of-1
Game Rating: C-
Oct. 30 at Georgia Southern 42, Troy 10
And You Care Because … Georgia Southern was Georgia Southern, getting the running game going early with Kevin Ellison running for scores from six, one and two yards out, and Alfred Ramsby added touchdown runs from four and nine yards away in the breather. Troy managed just a 25-yard Ryan Kay until late, finally getting into the end zone on a three-yard Khary Franklin run with just over a minute to play.
What Else? Rushing yards: Georgia Southern 421 – Troy 141
- Georgia Southern QB Kevin Ellison completed 5-of-9 passes for 31 yards, and ran 13 times for 99 yards and three scores
- Troy QBs Brandon Silvers and Dontreal Pruitt combined to complete 4-of-11 passes for 13 yards
- Time of possession: Georgia Southern 38:43 – Troy 21:17
Game Rating: D
Oct. 24 at South Alabama 27, Troy 13
And You Care Because … The Jaguars took control early in a penalty-marred game with the first of two Aleem Sunanon field goals and a 45-yard Shavarez Smith touchdown catch for a 10-0 lead. Troy was able to come up with Ryan Kay field goals from 43 and 38 yards out, but it was all USA after that in the second half with Xavier Johnson ripping off a 14-yard touchdown dash and Kendall Houston ripping off a 41-yard dash for a 27-6 lead late. Troy finally got into the end zone on an eight-yard B.J. Chitty catch with one minute to play.
What Else? Penalties: Troy 10 for 100 yards – South Alabama 8 for 78 yards
- USA RB Kendall Houston ran 18 times for 178 yards and a score, and Xavier Johnson ran 15 times for 107 yards and a touchdown
- Troy QBs combined to completed 13-of-24 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown
- Total yards: USA 402 – Troy 309
Game Rating: C-
Oct. 18 Appalachian State 53, at Troy 14
And You Care Because … The Mountaineers totally dominated a sloppy Troy team after getting down 7-0 on a five-yard Brandon Burks run. ASU got three touchdown runs from Marcus Cox and a 20-yard fumble return for a score on one of Troy’s four turnovers, but Troy stayed in it in the first half on a kickoff return for a score from Chandler Worthy and a safety to pull within 12. It was all ASU the rest of the way with 27 unanswered points.
What Else? Rushing yards: Appalachian State 441 and 5 TDs – Troy 79 and 1 TD
- Appalachian State RB Marcus Cox ran 16 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns
- Troy QB Brandon Silvers completed 20-of-30 passes for 156 yards and two interceptions
- Troy committed 11 penalties for 89 yards and turned it over four times
Game Rating: C-
Oct. 11 at Troy 41, New Mexico State 24
And You Care Because … The Troy offense woke up with 20 first half points, but it was helped by a 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Chandler Worthy to answer a NMSU 53-yard touchdown run from Larry Rose III. NMSU hung around just enough to make Troy keep working, but Jordan Chunn ran for two scores and Worthy came up with a 35-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth. NMSU got two Tyler Rogers touchdown passes in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Trojan O.
What Else? Troy QB Brandon Silvers completed 23-of-30 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and he ran 20 times for 70 yards and a touchdown
- New Mexico State QB Tyler Rogers completed 22-of-32 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with an interception
- Troy RB Brandon Burks ran ten times for 176 yards, and caught two passes for 24 yards
- Total yards: Troy 571 – New Mexico State 395
Game Rating: C
Sept. 27 at ULM 22, Troy 20
And You Care Because … ULM got a 29-yard field goal from Justin Manton with just over two minutes to play, and the D held on in a back-and-forth battle. The Warhawks took a 13-0 lead on two Manton field goals and a 64-yard Ajalen Holley touchdown catch, but Troy came back with two Brandon Silvers touchdown passes to take the lead. Holley came up with a 15-yard scoring play in the third, but Troy answered again with a second Chandler Worthy touchdown for the lead midway through the fourth. However, the Trojans missed on the two point conversion, leading the way to a 13-play game-winning drive.
What Else? ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 28-of-43 passes for 328 yards and two scores with an interception
- Troy QB Brandon Silvers completed 32-of-34 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for a team-leading 32 yards
- ULM WR Rashon Ceasar caught 12 passes for 121 yards, and Ajalen Holley caught five passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns
- Time of possession: ULM 34:44 – Troy 25:16
Game Rating: B+
Sept. 20 Georgia 66, Troy 0
And You Care Because … The Bulldogs got a huge day from their vaunted rushing attack, namely RB Sony Michel, for their most lopsided win in 56 years. Georgia scored at will on overmatched Troy, jumping out to a 45-0 halftime lead, and posting their highest point total since 1994. The Trojans are now 0-4, the first time that’s happened since 1982.
What Else? Michel rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns on only 10 carries. His performance was the highlight of a 367-yard rushing attack that was the most prolific of the Mark Richt era.
- Troy QB Brandon Silvers won’t be looking over his shoulder after sitting this one out following last week’s concussion. Backup Dontreal Pruitt struggled to lead the Trojans, completing 16-of-27 passes for 158 yards and a pick.
- The Bulldogs didn’t need much from QB Hutson Mason, who was coming off a rough effort in last week’s loss to South Carolina. The senior only attempted 11 passes before giving way to Brice Ramsey, completing eight for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
- An early deficit meant Troy had to quickly abandon its running game, while putting more pressure of Pruitt. Leading rusher Jordan Chunn was only able to carry the ball six times for 20 yards.
Game Rating: C
Sept. 13 Abilene Christian 38, at Troy 35
And You Care Because … Parker McKenzie threw two touchdown passes and De’Andre Brown ran for a 47-yard touchdown as Abilene Christian came up with a huge second half to pull off the win. ACU scored 31 points after halftime, but Troy made it interesting late with a one-yard Brandon Burks touchdown run, but did it with just 20 seconds to play. McKenzie threw for 312 yards and the two touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions, while Troy’s Brandon Silvers completed 12-of-21 passes for 187 yards and a score and ran for 40 yards and two touchdowns.
Game Rating: B
Sept. 6 Duke 34, at Troy 17
And You Care Because … Troy jumped out to a 14-3 first half lead on short touchdown runs from Brandon Silvers and Jordan Chunn, but it was all Duke the rest of the way, going on a 31-3 run with Anthony Boone running for scores from 30 and five yards out and hitting Isaac Blakeney on a 49-yard touchdown. Troy only managed a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter to pull within seven, but the Blue Devils answered right back with a seven play drive finishing with Boone’s second scoring run. Boone completed 27-of-41 passes for 268 yards and a score, while Troy sputtered after a good start with Brandon Silvers completed 19-of-27 passes for 160 yards.
Game Rating: C
Aug. 30 at UAB 48, Troy 10
And You Care Because … Troy scored on its opening drive, getting a one-yard Jordan Chunn touchdown run, and then it was all UAB with 24 straight points and a 48-3 run as the offense opened it up. Jordan Howard was unstoppable, running 19 times for 179 yards and two scores and D.J. Vinson added 196 yards and a touchdown to help the Blazers control the game. The normally high-octane Trojan offense couldn’t find the passing range – Brandon Silva completed just 16-of-23 passes for 153 yards.
Game Rating: D+
Eventually, this is going to work again.
Troy has been a powerhouse in the Sun Belt under longtime head coach Larry Blakeney, but it’s been a little while. Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette have taken on a bigger role in the conference just as Troy started to slip, but last year there were signs of turning things back around after a few down seasons. While going 6-6 might not be the program’s idea of success after so many great years in the early to mid-2000s, it was a pull up out of the nosedive of two straight losing campaigns.
When Troy was really, really good, the defense was taking center stage, but the offense was mediocre. The passing game has been fun and exciting over the last few years, but the defense hasn’t helped the cause. This year, the potential is there for both sides to come together and for Troy to go back to being one of the league’s power players.
The offense that ripped teams up for 322 passing yards per game loses QB Corey Robinson and top target Eric Thomas, but eight starters are back and the gaps should be filled in from the JUCO ranks with Dontreal Pruitt in the mix for the starting quarterback job and Jarvis Bentley a three-star caliber receiver who’s ready to make an impact.
Unfortunately for Troy, it’s all about the defense and its improvement after getting ripped apart by anyone who attempted a forward pass allowing 483 total yards per game. Seven starters are back including four key parts in the secondary of the 4-2-5 alignment, and if they can just hold serve once in a while and not be totally awful –the D allowed 40 points or more five times – things might be different.
Blakeney is a legend, and after 23 years, he certainly knows how to run the Troy program. It won’t take much for 6-6 to turn into 8-4 – or better – and this team and this coaching staff might have the ability to do it.
What to watch for on offense: The running back rotation will be vital. The quarterback job will work itself out with a few good options fighting it out to replace Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony – the lack of overall experience won’t be that big a deal with a good line in front and good receivers to work with. The running game hasn’t exactly been an afterthought, but it’s been along for the offensive ride over the last few seasons. That might soon change with a deep and talented group led by starter Brandon Burks, the speedy Khary Franklin, and touchdown machine Jordan Chunn. With promising fullback options to get their chances from time to time, all of a sudden, Troy might be able to pound away a bit.
What to watch for on defense: The defensive line needs an overhaul. The last thing one of the nation’s worst defenses needs is to come up with several new parts and deal with the inexperience, but that’s what Troy is doing up front. The secondary is solid – at least in terms of veterans - and the linebacking corps gets both starters back, but three of the four starters have to be replaced on the D line with only star end Tyler Roberts back. The run defense wasn’t a prize, and it might take a little while before that comes together with the line not only losing starters, but key backups, too, in the rotation. As long as everyone is aggressive and getting into the backfield, there might be an improvement. That’s not a guarantee.
The team will be far better if… the secondary can come up with a pick. Out of all of the team’s issues – last year penalties, third down stops, turnover margin, kickoff returns, and pass defense were all problems – coming up with interceptions has been the main issue for the Trojans. There was some improvement last year with one in each of the last three games, but there were only nine picks on the season and never more than one in any game. The pass defense wasn’t as miserable in 2012, but again, interceptions were lacking with just six on the season and eight in 2011.
The Schedule: It’s set up well to make a run for the Sun Belt title, but there can’t be any misfires and it’ll take two key wins – South Alabama and ULL – to get it done. There’s an interesting non-conference shootout with Duke early on at home – the Blue Devils won 38-31 last season – and there’s a paycheck date with Georgia, but UAB and Abilene Christian are winnable games before diving into a Sun Belt slate that’s not all that bad. Missing Arkansas State is fantastic, and getting Louisiana-Lafayette a home will help, but going to South Alabama will be a problem and a stretch of three road games in four with dates at ULM, USA and Georgia Southern wrapped around the Georgia State free space.
Best offensive player:
Senior OT Terrence Jones. The line did a fantastic job last season in pass protection and was solid – for the most part – for a running game that came up with 23 touchdowns and was decent at times. This season, the line might be the team’s biggest strength, and that starts with the team’s best player, Jones. A First Team All-Star, the 6-3, 320-pound right tackle might not have the height the NFL types would like, and he’s not really a left tackle, but he more than holds his own on the right side as the team’s toughest run blocker and most consistent producer – he doesn’t make mistakes.
Best defensive player: Junior DE Tyler Roberts. The line wasn’t bad at getting into the backfield last season, but it wasn’t stellar. This season, with so much turnover up front and so many concerns finding the right rotation, Roberts has to be ready to shine as the line returning starter and the one everyone will key on. He’s not all that big, but he’s a flash off the ball. While he’s fine against the run and makes plenty of stops, his real worth is as the team’s best pass rusher. If he can get around eight sacks and be a beast when it comes to applying pressure, he’ll be exactly what the team really needs.
Key player to a successful season: Redshirt freshman QB Brandon Silvers and/or junior QB Dontreal Pruitt. There were great options in Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony to work with last year, and while the idea will be to settle on one guy under center this season, the big question will be who can take over the reins and hang on. JUCO transfer Connor Bravard will also be in the mix, but Pruitt is the one who might be the most dynamic option after earning NJCAA All-America honors last year. However, Silvers might be the better quarterback to develop. A phenomenal get for the program, Silvers has the tools to put up huge numbers – but so does Pruitt. Either way, considering the shootouts Troy will be in, the quarterback has to carry the load.
The season will be a success if ... Troy wins the Sun Belt title. That’s a really, really lofty goal for a team that doesn’t play defense, but considering the schedule works out relatively well, and with the talent on offense including a great line, there’s no reason to not be right in the mix until the regular season ender against Louisiana-Lafayette at home. The Trojans can afford a loss at South Alabama as long as they win everything else, and if they beat the Jaguars, the narrative to the 2014 Sun Belt season will change.
Key game: Oct. 25 at South Alabama. Kicking off the Sun Belt season at ULM is big – the Trojans need the win – but it’s a dead-even matchup. If the goal is to think big and to think title, there can’t be any slips against teams like Appalachian State or New Mexico, it’s going to take a win at Georgia Southern, and biggest of all, coming away from South Alabama with a win is a must. The Trojans won a 34-33 thriller last year at home, but USA is better this year with one of the league’s strongest defenses. Win this, and the spotlight will be on the regular season finale with ULL.
2013 Fun Stats:
- 4th Down Conversions: Troy 14-of-21 (67%) – Opponents 8-of-19 (42%)
- Penalty Yards: Troy 895 (on 88 penalties) – Opponents 666 yards (on 81 penalties)
- Interceptions Thrown: Troy 9 (in 483 attempts) - Opponents 6 (in 397 attempts)
- 2014 Troy Preview -
What You Need To Know & Top Players
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