FAU running back Jonathan Wallace scores his first career touchdown on this 1-yard run last week vs. South Alabama. (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Notaro/Owl Pix)
Troy could be trouble
FAU coach Carl Pelini thinks Troy's emotional 38-37 victory vs. FIU last week makes the Trojans even more dangerous when they face the Owls on Saturday.
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BOCA RATON – Troy's football fortunes may have hit a rough period in the last season and a half as the Trojans have stumbled to a 6-9 record since winning the Sun Belt title in 2010.
Despite those struggles, Troy has been playing better lately including rallying from 16-points down in the fourth quarter to defeat FIU 38-37 last week. That could make the Trojans (4-3, 3-2 Sun Belt) even more dangerous when they play FAU (1-6, 0-4) at 5 p.m. Saturday at FAU Stadium, Owls coach Carl Pelini said.
“They felt like that comeback against FIU may have kind of saved their season,” Pelini said. “I think anytime you get that adrenaline boost like that off a big comeback, it makes a team even more hungry.”
But Troy coach Larry Blakeney said the Owls will be hungry as well after playing perhaps their best game of the season for three quarters before a fourth-quarter collapse gave South Alabama a 37-34 double-overtime victory.
"We don't need to be stupid," Blakeney said. "If you look at the tape and check these cats out, you can see they can win a game, they can beat us and they can beat anybody they play. We're 4-3, I don't know how you could look over anybody."
Although Troy went through its worst season under Blakeney in 2011, it didn't make a difference when the Trojans played the Owls as Troy rolled to an easy 34-7 victory over FAU last season. It was the eighth time in nine games that the Trojans defeated the Owls.
However FAU players aren't hungry for payback. They just want their second victory of the season and feel like they aren't that far away.
“It would definitely boost the morale,” said FAU senior defensive end David Baptiste. “Everybody is still going hard, trying to get that victory and it would show that all the effort pays off.”
Keys To The Game: Troy @ FAU
Key For The Owls
Keep throwing: FAU's offense did just fine when the Owls elected to throw it last week vs. South Alabama as the Jaguars had difficulty slowing down WR William Dukes. With the game on the line, it was FAU which kept the ball out his hands. This time FAU needs to keep riding Dukes for the entire game.
Key For The Trojans
Force turnovers: Troy has forced nine turnovers in the last three games and the Owls' offense doesn't bounce back from adversity very easily.
FAU DB Keith Reaser vs. Troy WR Chip Reeves: Reeves is a big-play threat with six catches of more than 30 yards. FAU has been prone to giving up big pass plays this season and should be ready to stop Reeves once he catches the ball.
- 16 – Deficit erased in the fourth quarter by Troy in its 38-37 victory over FIU last week.
- 14 – Lead squandered in the fourth quarter by FAU in its 37-34 double-overtime loss at South Alabama last week.
- 211.9 – Passing yards per game allowed by FAU, third-best in the Sun Belt Conference.