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Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

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  • Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

    Posted: Wednesday Sep 8, 2004 2:00 PM

    TROY, Ala. (AP) -- Alfred Malone isn't just interested in letting people outside the state know Troy football exists or proving the Trojans can hang in there against a major conference team.

    When No. 19 Missouri visits Thursday night, the defensive tackle wants to win.

    "Second place in football is nothing,'' Malone said. "You can have individual success and say, 'Yeah, OK, we played good,' but there's nothing like a win. That's what we go out for every Saturday is a win. How can you celebrate just playing good?''

    A win, Troy coach Larry Blakeney said, would be "monumental for this program, for this university and for this conference.''

    Actually, for the fledgling Division I-A program and new Sun Belt Conference member, just having a team from the Big 12 come to town is a coup. Playing on national television for the first time (ESPN2) is a huge bonus.

    Facing fleet-footed, strong-armed Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, on the other hand, might not be so much fun.

    Smith ran roughshod over Troy -- formerly Troy State -- as a freshman in a 44-7 victory in 2002. He showed in Missouri's opener why many consider him a Heisman Trophy candidate, passing for three touchdowns and running for a 34-yard score in a blowout of Arkansas State.

    The Trojans racked up eight sacks in a road upset of Marshall in their season opener, but will have a much harder time catching up with Smith.

    "He can do so many things,'' Blakeney said. "He can beat you with his speed and carrying the football. He's the total player.''

    But, Malone points out, "It's always better when you sack a big name.''

    The Trojans caught Smith's attention in holding Marshall, normally an offensive power, to 177 total yards and constantly hounding quarterback Stan Hill. He's wary of Troy's pass rushers led by defensive end Demarcus Ware, who had three sacks and forced two fumbles in the opener.

    "You definitely have to be aware of them and you've got to make quicker decisions,'' Smith said. "That's probably the big thing is to get the ball out and let the guys run with the ball.''

    The Tigers showed their firepower early against Arkansas State, scoring 21 points in a 5:17 stretch of the first quarter. However, the game also exposed a weak spot -- the Tigers allowed 350 passing yards to two Arkansas State quarterbacks.

    Troy's strength is expected to be running the ball with DeWhitt Betterson and Jermaine Richardson, though both were mostly shut down against Marshall.

    Quarterback Aaron Leak had one of his better games, throwing for 196 yards and running for a touchdown.

    "They're going to watch the film against Marshall and know we're not only a running threat now, we're a passing threat,'' receiver James Earl Cray said. "I think they're going to be a little more aggressive. I think we can handle it well.

    "I feel we can come in and do the same against them or even better.''

    Troy's only win over a major conference team was at Mississippi State three years ago. The 10{-point underdogs would get an even bigger boost with an upset Thursday.

    "It's about respect. Troy's been playing good ball for awhile and deserved to move up to Division I-A,'' Malone said. "We're playing big schools now.

    "Having big teams rolling in and getting victories over big teams out of other conferences, people have got to start respecting Troy. We can put us on the map. That's one thing we want to do.''

    Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • #2
    Re: Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

    Troy never gave up and whipped the Tigers after the First Qtr. Wow, what a display of never giving up and on any given day.....


    • #3
      Re: Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

      I am in mourning. Goodbye, top 25. Hello middle of the Big XII pack.

      However, Troy is much better than advertised. They are going to turn heads with that speed on defense.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.


      • #4
        Re: Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

        My question is how do you not catch that offensive lineman running down the field. Its not like he was just running a few yards, but nobody caught him. My best friend is a Mizzou fan and I bet this game tore him up.


        • #5
          Re: Missouri's visit a major coup for Troy

          I LOVE it when a non-BCS school pulls the upset, it's GREAT! Get rid of that stupid rating garbage. Sorry, to all the Mizzou fans, but Troy is an up and coming team. They are entering the Sun Belt this year and should contend with North Texas for the title. It's just too bad they won't be playing each other this year.


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