Five Keys to Beating Troy
The Cajuns will entertain five-time defending champion Troy at Cajun Field this Saturday night. The Trojans come in with their usual high-powered offense and feature preseason SBC Defensive Player of the Year Jonathan Massaquoi on defense. If history is any indication (and it usually is) there are some things the Cajuns are going to have to do in order to notch their first win over the Trojans since 2005:
That may seem a little strange, considering Troy’s ability to throw the football. But history will tell you it’s been the Troy running game that’s just killed the Cajuns over the last few years. Have doubts? Check this out: In 2006 Troy rushed for 208 yards, with Kenny Cattouse notching 172. Troy won the game 42-28. In 2007, Cattouse got 139 of Troy’s 271 rushing yards (quarterback Omar Haugabook added 89. Troy wins 48-31. The following year, DeJuan Harris had 234 of Troy’s 391 rushing yards and the Trojans won 48-3. In 2009 at Cajun Field, Troy rushed for 220 yards, with Shawn Southward picking up 152. Troy wins 48-31. But last year, Troy rushed for only 109 yards. They still won the game at home, but only by a 31-24 score. Stop the run, first and foremost.
Troy averages 331 yards per game through the air. And, while quarterback Corey Robinson will take his shots downfield, much of Troy’s ability to move the football through the air is their ability to turn short gains into long gains. The Cajuns have to limit YAC—Yards After the Catch and make Troy earn what they get.
The Cajuns don’t have to score each time they have the football, but they have to limit three-and-outs. The more they can sustain drives, the longer they’ll keep the football….and the less time Troy will have it.
Even with a sub-par opening performance against Oklahoma State, Blaine Gautier is now second in the Sun Belt in passing efficiency. He needs to continue to keep throwing at a high percentage and needs to continue to throw the football to the right colored jerseys. Gautier has thrown 92 consecutive passes without a pick. That needs to continue
Last week the Cajuns won the game while losing the turnover battle to FAU (-1). They can’t count on that against Troy. The Cajuns need to be on the plus side of the ledger in this game.